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Singapore Firms Facing Direct Recruitment Challenges

As Covid-19 made its way through the global economy in 2020, its effects on the labour market were deeply felt, no one has been unchanged. Like most countries Singapore’s labour market and economic growth has been affected. However, Singapore is working towards recovery, “The Singapore economy is projected to see a gradual recovery in 2021,” reported Gabriel Lim, Permanent Secretary at the Singapore Ministry of Trade and Industry. There are already talent shortages developing in key areas of the Financial Services sector.  

Singapore has dealt with the pandemic extremely well compared to other countries in the region and since June 2020 has been working towards business-as-usual. The demand for talented professionals is rapidly increasing, however the supply is being severely restricted by travel limitations, expat appeal, foreign Work Pass limits, and increased salaries, all of which are making it very difficult for firms to source and secure candidates.

Travel Limitations

The Covid pandemic has significantly reduced and in many cases stopped international travel, which has in turn prevented and completely halted the movement of highly skilled talent.

Expat Workers Returned Home

With the outbreak of Covid many expat workers returned home, and the continued uncertainty around Covid-19 and virus mutations are keeping them at home.

Work Passes For Foreign Employees

Increased level of scrutiny on VISA applications – the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) made changes to the criteria for employers seeking to obtain a Work Pass for foreign employees in Singapore, as they look to the local job market to strengthen the Singaporean core workforce.

Inflated Salaries

In some industries salaries have increased by 25% to 35%, impacted by:

  • Higher minimum qualifying salary for Employment Passes, with a special criteria introduced for the Financial Services sector – from December 2020 the minimum qualifying salary for new applications was increased to S$5,000.
  • Demand for Singaporean and Permanent Resident talent, increased competition and low supply levels are driving up the demand for higher salaries, as candidates negotiate over multiple employment offers.  

The firms that continue to direct source are being held back by job advertising durations, the wrong skilled people applying, and increased competition. Many companies use tools such as LinkedIn to source, but candidates are now receiving so many LinkedIn messages that they simply just do not respond.  If companies are wanting to attract the best talent, they will need to use a headhunter who knows the market very well.

Danos Associates is an experienced headhunting firm, we have been covering the Singapore market for almost 10 years and during that time we have developed exceptional talent networks across Risk and Compliance, enabling us to provide our clients with experienced, talented professionals.

If you are looking to secure the finest talent in a very competitive market, or you would like our advice on the Singapore market, please contact Adnan Maddix today:

Adnan Maddix
Associate Partner, Head of Singapore
Tel: +65 6950 4505