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20 May 2014

Skills Shortages could Scupper Singapore’s Growth Prospects

As increasing numbers of pharmaceutical companies expand into Singapore, and businesses experience high levels of staff movement as a result of heightened confidence amongst jobseekers, future growth could be affected by a marked skills shortage. That’s according to the latest Global Sentiment Survey from Berkley Group, which analyses employment and market perceptions internationally.


People Crisis Looms for Pharma Companies

Recent reports from the Ministry of Trade reveal that the Singapore economy grew 5.4% in Q1 2014 which has, in turn, led to increased investment in the region and heightened confidence amongst jobseekers and employers alike. Despite this, however, Berkley’s research reveals that future growth may be halted by a lack of available talent. The report revealed that 80% of the current workforce intends to move jobs in the next year, with 60% planning to do so within 6 months. This is in keeping with recent research from Sylvia Vorhauser-Smith, Senior Vice President of Research at PageUp People, which reveals that regular job hopping is prevalent in the country’s workforce.


Robust Attraction and Retention Strategy a must for Employers

This high level of predicted movement amongst the workforce is likely to exacerbate the already present concerns surrounding talent retention and attraction in Singapore. This, coupled with increasing pressure mounted on employers to hire locals before expats, means that staffing strategies need to be far more succinct to help organisations attract and retain those professionals with the requisite skill sets to prevent a slowdown in growth. This is a sentiment mirrored in Berkley’s research which reveals that, whilst 90% of those surveyed expect a pay rise in the coming year, very few reported financial incentives as a contributing factor in moving jobs (30%). In comparison, 57% acknowledged that career progression would be the biggest driver. These results suggest there is currently a significant disconnect between staff preferences and workplace incentives.


Wendy Cheong, Practice Director at Berkley Group, comments: “The Singapore economy is currently experiencing a period of intense change as plans for economic development and growth remains a high priority for the government. However, for businesses to remain competitive, it’s vital that they have the right talent on board, an objective that has long been a challenge with high levels of staff turnover and a heavy reliance on expats in the country. As recruitment activity looks set to increase, there will need to be a change in the mindset of employers to ensure they are providing the right opportunities to attract and retain staff to prevent marked skills shortages. As financial incentives continue to drop off the radar of the workforce, perhaps career development opportunities need to be considered as part of the talent attraction strategy.”


To see the report visit

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