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Singapore – Employment policy to exacerbate talent struggle

02 October 2013

Singapore’s latest employment measure promises to aggravate the already intense talent war, according to campaignasia.com. The new policy, which is scheduled to take effect next August, requires companies in Singapore to try to source employment candidates in Singapore before looking to recruit from overseas.

Companies with more than 25 members of staff will be required to advertise job vacancies to local residents for two weeks before they can apply to fill positions with foreign candidates. The job vacancies must be posted to a central job bank to be administered by a government employment agency. According to the legislation, jobs that pay a fixed monthly salary of SGD 12,000 (USD 9,576) are exempt from the new policy.

Karin Clarke, Asia regional director for recruitment firm Font, said to campaignasia.com that the policy is similar to Australia, where companies must prove that they advertised the role and considered Australians before offering a job to a foreigner. However, the primary difference being that Singapore relies heavily on foreign talent, whereby Australia does not.

She said that the new policy would have an impact on the industry, especially for emerging skills sets; such as digital roles, where many companies are looking to bring in people from mature markets to help them keep up with the latest developments.

“The creative, marketing, and PR sectors require people to have a more diverse skill set than in the past. While more graduates are coming out of university with new skills, the sector is evolving so rapidly, and Singapore can’t keep up with training the talent as fast as the jobs and the evolving roles are being created,” Ms Clarke added.

According to Ms Clarke, the constraining effect on companies will make the hiring process in Singapore longer. “We find that the hiring process already takes a long time in Singapore, because most people have regional roles. On average it takes six weeks to finalise the candidate and then there’s usually a month’s notice period. Adding another 14 days to the process is going to mean that companies will have to start their workforce planning one quarter in advance.”

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