11 Jul 2022

How Does Singapore Dominate Talent-Competitiveness in Asia?

Talent Shortage and Strategies to Address It

Despite its strong economic fundamentals and strategic location, Singapore has struggled with a talent shortage in recent years.

A survey by human resources firm GlobalManpower ranked Singapore as the third most talent-starved country out of 40, with 84% of companies in Singapore reporting talent shortages.

This is partly because the information and communication technology (ICT) sector alone is projected to need an additional 60,000 workers by 2023. Singapore’s education system only produces around 2,800 ICT graduates annually, which is insufficient to fill manpower needs.

Additionally, only about a third of Singapore’s tech workforce is local, meaning that foreign workers will likely have to fill most vacancies.

To address this talent shortage, the Singaporean government has implemented several initiatives to attract foreign talent. For example, in January 2021, it introduced the Tech.Pass, which allows established foreign tech entrepreneurs, leaders, and experts to work in Singapore.

Related Read: Singapore Talent Outlook 2022: Top Tech Talent in High Demand »

This has helped to address the mismatch between supply and demand for digital workers in the country, which is expected to need an additional 1.2 million skilled workers by 2025, according to Amazon Web Services (AWS).

Additionally, in August 2022, the Minister of Manpower, Tan See Leng, introduced the Overseas Networks & Expertise (ONE) Pass, a 5-year work permit that has been implemented since January 2023.

This pass allows eligible applicants to work for multiple companies in Singapore simultaneously. It is available to those earning at least S$30,000 (US$21,000) per month or those with outstanding achievements in their respective fields.

It is by far and away Singapore’s most attractive and flexible working visa to date and should help to attract and retain the world’s top talent despite global shortages.

Catalyst Talent Strategy Consulting

Nurturing Local Talent

In addition to its efforts to attract the best foreign talent, Singapore has also taken steps to nurture local talent and address concerns about the hiring rate from abroad, particularly in professional services positions that are highly sought after by locals.

One way it has done this is by reducing the Dependency Ratio Ceiling in the services sector from 38% to 35% in January 2021. This measure is intended to limit the number of foreign workers in the industry and encourage hiring local talent.

In addition to this policy change, the government has introduced several initiatives to support the development of local talents, such as the Singapore Global Executive Programme (SGEP).

This programme is designed to support local companies by investing in career development journeys for their local staff, helping to ensure that they have the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in their roles and advance in their careers.

Another initiative aimed at nurturing local talent is the SkillsFuture initiative, which was launched in 2015. This programme provides Singaporeans with the opportunity to develop their skills and knowledge throughout their lives.

It aims to help them stay competitive in the rapidly changing global economy. In 2020 alone, SkillsFuture assisted 540,000 Singaporeans.

It does this through a variety of measures, including:

  • Subsidies for training courses
  • The SkillsFuture Credit scheme, which provides Singaporeans with credits that can be used towards the cost of approved courses and activities
  • The SkillsFuture Earn and Learn Programme, which provides structured on-the-job training and education for fresh graduates in high-growth sectors

Cementing Singapore’s Position as One of the World’s Best Destinations for Global Talent

Source: Singapore Company Corporation (22 Dec 2022) 2018 © All Rights Reserved.