Lack of local talent a big challenge in building workforce for S'pore firms: Survey

For Singapore respondents, lack of local talent was the biggest challenge.
For Singapore respondents, lack of local talent was the biggest challenge.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

SINGAPORE - The lack of local talent is a big challenge for Singapore businesses in building their workforce, a survey has found.

The survey of more than 1,500 business leaders across the Asia-Pacific (Apac) region by workforce solutions provider Persolkelly aimed to find out more about human resource challenges, as well as the rationale behind current and future approaches to workforce management.

It received responses from a range of industries, including automotive, IT and technology, construction, education, retail and trading.

Up to 85 per cent of respondents face challenges in building their workforce, such as restrictions on global mobility, lack of talent and high attrition among workers with specific skills, the survey found.

For Singapore respondents, lack of local talent was the biggest challenge, according to the survey insight report.

Those from Taiwan, India, New Zealand, Indonesia, Malaysia and Hong Kong faced the least challenge in hiring locally.

Constraints on work visas are also a bigger challenge in building a workforce for Singapore businesses than those in any of the other 11 markets in the Apac report.

Across the region, some 55 per cent of the companies that struggle to fill positions locally said they are willing to engage overseas talent remotely.

According to the insight report, workers in demand include sales professionals who know their way around analytics, digital tools and agile processes.

"All industries in Asia-Pacific are embracing digital transformation to streamline operations and reach out to digital-savvy consumers. These developments are driving demand for (such talents)," it said.

Companies are also looking for people skilled in technology, business development, digital marketing and e-commerce.

"Having the technology to provide an excellent online payment experience is especially important amid the disruptions from Covid-19," said the report.

Companies that want to tap the rapidly evolving digital marketplace must thus have a reliable and fast online platform to engage their target markets, clients and consumers.

Mr Elvin Tan, regional director and head of operations for the Apac region at Persolkelly, said the Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted everyday work.

Companies have had to relook at the way they hire, retain and nurture employees, he noted.

"At the same time, Asia-Pacific remains a vibrant market with excellent opportunities as companies continue to expand regionally and globally," Mr Tan added.

"Winning in this landscape means gaining the best talents quickly to take advantage of opportunities to scale."