News: Tight talent market brings challenge to Singapore companies in 2024


Tight talent market brings challenge to Singapore companies in 2024

The talent market in Singapore will continue to be tight in 2024, with most employees prioritizing career stability and growth rather than exploring new career opportunities.
Tight talent market brings challenge to Singapore companies in 2024

Hiring in Singapore will be a bit more challenging in 2024 as most of the country’s workers are not keen on moving on to another job throughout the year.

The latest study by HR service provider Randstad found that most employees in Singapore are more focused on career growth than transferring to another company.

“Stability will be a top priority for many organisations and talent this year. With the pressure to innovate, transform, and optimise, hiring will only be more challenging in a talent-scarce market,” said Jaya Dass, Randstad’s Regional Managing Director for Permanent Recruitment. 

Randstad’s Employer Brand Research paper showed that the lack of career growth opportunities is why one in three Singaporeans leave their jobs. 

Given the trend, companies will have higher chances of success in talent acquisition if they can offer long-term growth opportunities. 

The study said that while companies will continue hiring talent this year, most are taking a more cautious and strategic approach. 

The best way for an organisation to thrive in a talent-scarce market, the study suggests, is to invest in the development of their existing employees. 

“By making learning the core part of their jobs – even a key performance indicator for promotions – employers have an opportunity to cultivate a high-performance and highly-skilled workforce,” it said.

“This approach towards people development can also help strengthen the employer brand as most talents are seeking such personalised learning and development opportunities,” the study added.

Read more: 68% of Singapore workers experience weekly stress at the workplace

Salary trends in 2024

Besides growth opportunities, Singaporeans will continue looking for employers who can pay them more because of rising costs.

While median monthly house income rose by 6.1% in nominal terms in 2023, the gains translated only to 0.2% when inflation is accounted for, according to the Singapore Department of Statistics. 

“During our discussions with job seekers, many are looking for an average of 10% to 25% pay raise when switching employers, varying on industries and professions,” the study said. 

“To many employees, salary does not only determine their symbol of status but also provides them with a much-needed financial buffer during times when expenses and interest rates are high,” it added. 

Many organisations have yet to express their willingness to shift to rising salary trends, meaning companies meeting pay expectations will have a larger pool of candidates.

Read More: Aon predicts flat salaries in Malaysia and Singapore for 2024

The potential of the contract work market

Randstad’s latest market research showed the potential for organisations to use contract work as part of their strategy to be flexible in an uncertain labour market condition.  

Right now, the study found that most Singaporean employees are still trying to land full-time roles, but companies have an opportunity to change their mindset. 

“With more contracting roles available in the market, employers will also be able to encourage more talent to consider it a career option,” the study suggested.

“The salary and benefits package for contract workers should be as competitive, if not better than permanent roles if companies are looking to attract the right talent,” it added.

A renewed focus for Singapore’s life sciences sector

Singapore is making a significant investment in addressing the challenges of its aging population, projecting growth in several aspects of the life sciences industry, such as gerontology and cell therapy.

Cell therapy, in particular, offers exciting growth, a sector that is expected to top US$20 billion in the United States alone by the end of this decade. 

“As this area continues to grow, Singapore has the potential to emerge as a regional hub in this promising new field,” the Randstad study said.

Meanwhile, this year's most in-demand life sciences careers include roles in business development, project management, regulatory affairs, quality assurance, and scientific research. 

Change and uncertainty in banking and finance

The Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) market is gaining momentum with all the digital transformation happening in Singapore, the Randstad study said.

Because of this, compliance and digital skills are highly sought after by most players in the banking and finance sector. 

Some of the most in-demand banking and finance jobs for 2024 include roles in retail, investment banking, risk and compliance, and family offices.

Many organisations also seek experts for their environmental, social, and governance (ESG) projects.

“With less room to win candidates with high salaries in 2024, employers will be putting more emphasis on learning and development to attract talent and foster a more agile workforce,” the study said. 

Meanwhile, the cryptocurrency market in Singapore remains subdued, and is expected to still recover after the crash in 2022. 

The most in-demand tech roles in Singapore

Singapore’s investment in digital transformation has resulted in profound growth, with the Digital Government Blueprint program propelling the country as a regional technology hub.

According to Randstad, Singapore has attracted the most tech funding in Southeast Asia in the first half of 2023 at US$685 million. 

Because of this growth, the demand for skilled tech talent, particularly in cybersecurity, data science, and artificial intelligence, is expected to be stronger this year.

The most in-demand careers in the tech space include roles in software development, engineering, cybersecurity, data science, and specialist experience in cloud migration.

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Topics: Recruitment

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