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Adapting to changes in Singapore’s foreign employment policy

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Singapore’s ongoing effort to tighten foreign labour inflow has severely affected local companies in terms of their talent attraction, development and retention strategies.

“It has had a significant impact on how we think about our talent attraction strategy,” Alex Kershaw, director – head of HR Singapore, Philippines and Indonesia at American Express, said.

Kershaw explained how it is necessary to be “intentional” when going to the market, to look at attraction and retention policies from every angle, and to consider other possible channels that could be used to make these policies better.

These changes included a shift in mindset when it came to thinking about the relevance of the brand and EVP in the market.

“The changing policies forced us to look harder and sharpen our attraction strategies, building out our channels and brand.”

Kershaw said they were reliant on foreign talent in certain segments, such as travel and servicing. The foreign manpower regulations encouraged the company to re-look at how they were sourcing talent in those segments.

She stated the company is now in a stronger position with a more robust talent pipeline.

Srikanth Chandrashekhar, HR director of APAC SSO and operations at Bombardier Transportation, added because his company is already in a niche market, it becomes even more necessary for the HR department to fiercely work on retaining existing talent.

“We’re working more proactively now on retaining talent and also working with universities because we don’t find our desired skill sets in every country,” he said.

“These are very particular engineering skill sets so working to develop them further has become more integral.”

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