Retention woes: S'pore companies will find it harder to engage and retain employees

­Companies in Singapore may find it increasingly difficult to engage and retain their workforce, with nearly two thirds of workers (64%) saying they are in a good position to secure a similar or better role.

According to the 2017 Kelly Services and Capita Salary Guide which compiles job placements and trend data annually, majority (74%) of workers in Singapore believe their skill set and experience allows them to compete effectively with other job seekers.

“Singapore has a highly skilled workforce where its workers are well aware of their market power,” says Foo See Yang, Managing Director and Country Head for Kelly Services Singapore.

“If they are dissatisfied with an organization, they will actively look to find something better. This is especially so for high performers and those with high demand skills such as data analytics or risk management. What distinguishes great employers today is their commitment to the learning and development of their people.”

While Singapore’s workers may be confident of their market power today, uncertain economic conditions, the anticipated rise in overall unemployment to 2.3%, and the steady increase in redundancies since 2010 has given rise to concerns about their future.

Despite the upbeat outlook on job opportunities, 7 in 10 workers (72%) mentioned that their top concern is of their knowledge and skills becoming obsolete. In contrast, approximately 3 in 10 workers (28%) indicated layoffs as their biggest concern.

The concern of outdated skills is evident throughout all segments of the workforce. Among professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs), the overall statistic stands at approximately 1 in 2 (58%), with a slight variance across workers in IT (64%), Engineering (61%), and Finance and Accounting (59%). The concern is also higher among Gen Y workers (74%) as compared to Gen X workers (63%) where almost 4 in 10 workers (37%) cited being more concerned about layoffs.

Singapore’s workers are confident, but not complacent

In this uncertain labour market, Singapore’s workers are seeking ways to be as resilient as possible. From the workers who were surveyed by Kelly Services, more than 8 in 10 workers (83%) indicated a desire to grow their skill set, and recognized that their skills and knowledge will need to continue to evolve and grow. This is consistent across both Gen Y (84%) and Gen X (83%) workers and employees around the globe, with workers in APAC (82%), Americas (80%) and Europe, Middle East and Africa (86%) echoing a similar sentiment.

“While industries experiencing high growth are in a better position to provide competitive remuneration, employee engagement and retention goes beyond the employee’s pay packet,” said Foo. “Employers who empower their people, and provide learning opportunities that build skills and competencies will be able to better attract and retain their top talent. Job seekers who are looking to diversify their skills may also want to consider growing industries where the need for talent is stronger.”

Five Top Paying Industries to Watch in 2017

The 2017 Kelly Services and Capita Salary Guide is a comprehensive reference tool which provides insight to the latest salary ranges for job positions across industries in the country.

Based on a database of approximately 19,000 permanent and temporary contract placements in 2016, this year’s highest paying industries are Accounting, Banking & Finance, Healthcare & Life Sciences, Information Technology, and Legal.

Building a Future-proof Workforce

As global factors continue to impact the local economy and job market, Singapore faces a mixed outlook. With its push to become a Smart Nation driving growth and jobs across IT, advanced manufacturing and e-commerce, other sectors such as brick-and-mortar retailing will likely contract or face stagnant growth.

However, Singapore’s tight local labour pool means employers will need to continue to attract and retain top talent by providing competitive salary and a range of high-growth learning opportunities. This in turn benefits the organization, as nurturing employee capabilities and adaptability ensures that the company’s workforce is future-proof.

“Companies that invest in their people incentivize their top talent to remain loyal, and at the same time improve overall workforce competency and resilience. Having a resilient, agile workforce also translates to having the right talent mix of permanent and contract staff. This provides the organization with the ability to act quickly to close any skills gaps, manage costs effectively, and the flexibility to scale up or down its talent pool as needed,” said Foo.

 

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