What are Singapore’s top 10 talent trends for 2018?

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With the Singaporean economy now growing much faster than first predicted,the Top 10 talent trends for 2018 show how organisations plan to extract greater value from people and technology in the year ahead to take advantage of positive conditions, according to recruiting experts Hays.

“Companies in Singapore want to position for growth in 2018. In our conversations with employers, we are hearing that they plan to invest in talent and technology while also keeping a close eye on costs,” says Lynne Roeder, Managing Director of Hays Singapore.

“A powerful example is the increasing use of contractors and temporary staffing in Singapore. Organisations recognise they can bring in top talent for projects via contracting and accordingly are offering more attractive benefits to secure the best people to these roles,” says Lynne. “For candidates, contracting is also a good way to work on quality projects and keep skill sets relevant, so a candidate is in the best position to convert to a permanent role if the opportunity presents itself.”

“Another interesting Top 10 Trend is the way organisations are looking to their employees to deliver in new areas. Singapore has always been known for its well-educated workforce, but organisations will be looking for talent to burst out of the confines of their roles in 2018 to deliver more to the business,” says Lynne.

“An example is demand for accountants to act more as a business partner to the organisation. And for talent management professionals to use technology in the learning and development space to improve the employment experience and retain talent as well as deliver cost savings to the organisation by fostering a ‘self serve’ L&D culture amongst employees.”

“Technology will also play a starring role in the hiring of new employees including using artificial intelligence (AI) to “read” CVs and manage candidate communication. AI will also be used to mine data to help companies find the right candidates to approach for any given job leaving recruitment experts more time to focus on building relationships with talent.”

“Not surprisingly, candidates with experience in AI will be hot property in 2018 for these roles but also others across many sectors,” says Lynne.

The Hays Singapore Top 10 Talent Trends in 2018 also reveals how companies will be expecting new and existing employees to help improve the way things are done.

“We are already seeing candidates quizzed at interviews about the ways they have contributed to process improvement in a previous job.”

Soft skills will also be in high demand in 2018 especially for roles crucial to advocating for technology-driven change.”

“Companies are looking to the future but things are changing so fast in many sectors that an employer may not yet know the full scope of skills they will need in a role today to be ready for tomorrow,” says Lynne.

“What this means for candidates and employees alike is to be ready to demonstrate that they can be adaptable and open to change whether that is working a different way or taking on a new set of responsibilities once regarded as beyond the scope of a particular job role,” she says.

Hays Top 10 Talent Trends for 2018 in Singapore are:

1. Flexible workforces
Contracting
 continues to become a very attractive option for employers – particularly those within industries where cost pressures are high, such as Banking, Life Sciences and Manufacturing. We expect more employers will be looking to make use of contingent workers in 2018 across a greater range of functions. Across most sectors contracting remains a hot market in Singapore with organisations increasingly looking for flexible staffing solutions. High performing contractors can command good salaries and have a high chance of converting to a permanent role. As contracting becomes more prevalent in the market, organisations are increasingly improving the benefits they provide to attract the best talent.

2. Soft skills 
Employers will probe even deeper in 2018 to uncover the interpersonal and soft skills of interviewees. As automation and AI are transforming work processes, candidates with strong soft skills who are able to communicate changes and work with technology will be highly prized. This will be more apparent in the procurement and finance sectors where roles may look very different to what is currently required in a ‘typical’ job according to its contemporary job title.

3. Diversity
Diversity remains a hot topic in Singapore as organisations look to address their gender balance in particular. Companies will be looking to implement strategies to ensure job advertisements and hiring processes are gender neutral and attract people based on skills rather than gender. Also, shared parental policies will be increasingly implemented to encourage a gender-balanced workforce.

4. Regional hubs drawn to Singapore
As one of the best cities to do business in Asia, more MNCs are establishing or moving regional hubs to Singapore to access quality leadership talent and take advantage of business-friendly policies, especially in the Life Sciences and Technology sectors. Employers in these sectors want to utilise regional teams in order to maximise their headcount capacity and leverage the full value of teams across the region.

5. Talent Management on the rise
We foresee talent management professionals taking over traditional L&D roles in a number of MNCs as they expand their remit throughout 2018. This trend is extending to talent acquisition and we are seeing more employers looking for candidates with broader experience. Also within the L&D space, we will see much greater use of digital solutions and this is driving up requests for talent with e-learning experience. Companies want employees to take more responsibility for their own development and online learning makes this possible.

6. Regulatory change candidates
Hiring regulatory change professionals remains high on the agenda of many employers in Singapore, but also across the APAC region as banks look to ensure compliance with new local and global regulations, such as IFRS 9. In addition, significant changes to the global banking landscape – including Brexit – are driving demand for functional change professionals able to help large organisations adapt quickly to a rapidly evolving banking landscape.

7. Finance becomes a business partner service 
More sophisticated finance candidates will need to act as business partners to their organisations in 2018 that will in many cases, reduce demand for lower skilled, transactional roles. The prevailing trend is for the responsibilities of the finance function including accountancy to evolve into a business partnering service. Accountants are no longer required just for their number crunching abilities, but also to provide advice to all areas of the business. In fact, almost every hire in the finance team in 2018 needs to demonstrate their ability to engage with the business to help drive decision-making where appropriate.

8. Process improvement
As firms in Singapore look to gain a competitive edge against their rivals, it will become a bigger part of an employee’s responsibility to improve processes and gain efficiencies. More and more candidates will be asked at interviews throughout 2018 to discuss their achievements in this area. Those who can demonstrate and cite examples of the positive changes he/she has led will be highly regarded in the eyes of hiring managers.

9. AI candidate screening:
Automated and machine-learning algorithms
 will be used to screen CVs and communicate with candidates. While this is a complex AI challenge, in 2018 organisations will work on ‘training’ ontology to convert the semi-structured data of CVs and job descriptions into a consistent format for processing which, once implemented, will significantly accelerate the shortlisting process.

10. Recruitment remodelled to ‘Find & Engage’: 
In 2018, a new model of recruitment will emerge, fuelled by technology, the dynamics of the digital world, data science and artificial intelligence. The historic and conventional ‘Advertise & Apply’ model (where active jobseekers at that point in time apply to advertised vacancies) will be superseded by a ‘Find & Engage’ approach. The ‘Find’ element of the equation involves using digital technology and data science analytics to reach deep into candidate pools and examine large amounts of data to prepare shortlists of the most suitable people (which span far wider than the community of active jobseekers), extrapolate meaningful patterns and gauge how open to new job opportunities a potential candidate is. The ‘Engage’ element puts the relationship back at the heart of recruitment to understand a candidate’s personal priorities and aspirations for a successful outcome. It’s a game-changing transformation for employers and external agencies alike.

To find out more about Hays, visit their website here: https://www.hays.com.sg/