Singapore - Although local talent cost considerably less and are socially more stable, companies based in Singapore still prefer to hire foreign workers as they help the business to develop a global mindset.
A new KPMG International survey, which polled 260 senior HR decision makers from multinationals around the world, revealed that companies based in Singapore have the highest proportion of foreign talent among all the countries polled. Seven out of ten were also least likely to specifically target locals in their hiring decisions. Respondents believe hiring foreign talent improves their company, with 69% saying they help foster better understanding of global markets and 76% saying foreign workers help develop a valuable global mindset. Companies that do hire locals only do so as they cost less (67%) and are socially more stable (50%).
Owi Kek Hean, head of KPMG Tax Services in Singapore, said businesses are ready for the next stage of globalisation where talented people move easily between borders to where they are needed. "Governments desiring international investment need to concurrently develop their local workforce and attract foreign talent," he added.
Hence, 90% of the respondents are urging the government to ease the immigration rules and 55% also called for direct tax incentives for foreign workers. Some effective talent attraction measures cited by Singapore companies include low personal tax rates (40%) and tax concessions for qualified immigrants (35%). According to Owi, 70% of Singapore companies polled declared tax policy an important factor in their hiring decisions and half said it was more important than access to an educated workforce.
Other tax policies Singapore companies would like to see being implemented by the government include harmonised income tax rates across borders and improvements in the cross-border portability of pensions.