Whilst Singapore’s hiring market in 2020 was largely conservative, 2021 was a different ball game. Monty Sujanani, Country Manager of Robert Walters Singapore, shares, “With businesses ramping up hiring activity in 2021, we saw in increase in job flow across all divisions, both for permanent and contract roles. Companies resumed their hiring plans that were put on hold in 2020, and consequently, candidate movements have been aggressive, resulting in a candidate-driven market.”
“We also saw candidate counteroffers increased, as businesses were not prepared to lose good people. As a result, active candidates had at least two to three opportunities presented at any given time,” he says.
Monty adds, “With working from home becoming more widely accepted as the norm, we saw an increase in the reliance of technology across industries. Businesses have accelerated their digital transformation processes, whilst striking a balance in focusing on people. We saw a steep focus on mental health and employee wellbeing, including a rise in virtual employee engagement strategies to prevent employee isolation.”
“On a macro level, we have also seen a further drive to hire Singaporean talent – and one keyway to do so is by attracting back overseas-based Singaporeans,” he notes.
Read on as Monty shares his expectations about Singapore’s labour market in 2022.
Talent acquisition, commercial and technology talent to be in-demand
The three biggest hiring trends for 2022 are set to be focused around people and technology. Monty explains, “Given the increase in job hiring, more companies are hiring internal recruiters and talent acquisition professionals to help support the search for suitable candidates. Also, Commercial talent year on year will always be in demand, as the economy bounces back going into 2022.”
“We are also expecting 2022 to see a further demand for technology talents – across commerce and financial services sectors,” Monty says.
Emphasis on highly specialised tech and soft skills
In terms of in-demand skill sets in 2022, Monty points out, “We still foresee a low supply and high demand situation for tech professionals with highly specialised technical skillsets, especially in new emerging areas, such as in AI and machine learning. Other tech fields such as data, cybersecurity, digital, and e-commerce will see high demand for suitable professionals as well. Businesses will be on the lookout for talent that can help them move from a physical to an online presence.”
“Governance, compliance, and risk sectors, especially in dealing with financial crime, will also see relatively higher hiring activity in 2022,” he mentions.
Monty also highlights, “Beyond technical skills, organisations will be looking at professionals’ soft skillsets. Professionals who are resilient, adaptable, flexible, forward thinking, able to manage their teams remotely, and can creatively engage and drive culture remotely, will stand in good stead.”
Advice on recruiting and retaining employees
Monty advises hiring managers looking to recruit and retain talent in 2022 to “firstly keep your employees engaged. Invest in their growth by providing them with opportunities to learn new skills, especially highly relevant ones such as data analytics.”
“When it comes to interacting with potential hires during the hiring process, I strongly advise companies to move quickly, keep the entire interview process short, and maximise each engagement opportunity. As mentioned earlier, candidates would have multiple opportunities at the same time. Be very transparent about the career opportunity and progression to each candidate and convey a clear overall business direction to them,” Monty recommends.
“Lastly, hire and invest for potential; don’t persist on looking for the 100% perfect hire as they might not exist in the market. With the current demand for professionals, it might take you more time to land the 100% fit. If companies are looking to tap on niche skillsets that are non-existent in the local talent pool, consider our Balik Kampung programme, which is helping to attract back Singaporeans abroad and drive the national agenda for a core local workforce,” Monty says.
If companies are looking to tap on niche skillsets that are non-existent in the local talent pool, consider our Balik Kampung programme, which is helping to attract back Singaporeans abroad and drive the national agenda for a core local workforce.
Significant jump in salaries in key areas
“We expect to see salaries in several areas, such as technology, increase significantly in 2022 due to shortage of talent. Across other areas, we expect to see an average of 10% to 15% jump for candidates moving between jobs,” Monty concludes.
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