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SEA talent trends 2022: Hybrid work, extensive healthcare, corporate alignment on social & political issues

SEA talent trends 2022: Hybrid work, extensive healthcare, corporate alignment on social & political issues


Companies that address these could gain a competitive edge in the talent war. On the attrition front, in Singapore, HR is the third-highest noted industry likely to see the largest attrition rate, at 71%.

A recent study has observed an increased demand for local talent in 2021, with more and more expatriates returning to their home countries. In fact, global mobility "significantly reduced", thus contributing to higher attrition rates among employees, the study, titled Robert Walters Salary Survey 2022, added.

Come 2022, there will be an increasing scarcity of professionals with skillsets to support companies looking to grow in fields such as technology, automation, and analytics, it noted.

The survey included a sample size from six Southeast Asian countries – Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, and the Philippines. It aims to be an authoritative analysis and benchmark of salary trends.

Regionally, while digital and technology experienced the "greatest boost in hiring" in 2021, the hiring market is expected to "cool down slightly after a hectic boom" in 2022. And for roles that will be hired for, those that will be in top demand across the region include those with financial services, with skillsets in the areas of digital transformation, customer engagement, virtual banking and front office roles.

Those with specific skillsets in 5G rollouts, data analytics and blockchain, as well as those who are able to support edtech, health tech, and automation in manufacturing will also be highly sought after.

More importantly, the study revealed what talents look for in a prospective company, and in staying with a company — given the shifting employee perspectives and priorities in the new world of work. In particular, in 2022, organisations that offer hybrid working models, extensive healthcare plans, and align on social and political issues while proactively pipelining talent will have a competitive edge in attracting and retaining talent. 

Beyond hybrid work arrangement options, professionals are willing to decline job offers from companies whose values do not align with theirs. As SEA companies ramp up operations, tactics such as counteroffers are becoming increasingly common to ease rising attrition rates as well. The survey noted that: 

  • 71% of SEA respondents prefer to work in the office for at least two to three days in a week;
  • 40% would decline a job that requires 100% attendance in the office;
  • 63% believed that it is important for companies’ positions on social and political issues to align with their own.

Diving deeper, the survey found that a hybrid work arrangement was preferred due to several reasons:

  1. Need for better work-life balance (48%)
  2. Enjoy face-to-face interaction with colleagues (43%)
  3. A choice to come into an office (36%). 

The survey also revealed the top three values and affiliations that will make employees decline a job offer if the company’s values are in conflict with theirs:

  1. Racial, cultural, or religious matters (60%)
  2. Workers’ rights (57%)
  3. Diversity, inclusion & equality (55%)

Last, the study shared that salaries in areas such as technology are expected to increase significantly due to the talent shortage, while across other areas, salary premiums of 10- 15% are expected for professionals moving between jobs.

Zooming into Singapore data, 2021 brought about rapid change as businesses ramped up their activities and resumed their hiring plans in preparation for growth. Consequently, there was an increase in job flows across all divisions, for both permanent and contract roles.

Top three industries that are likely to see the highest attrition:

  1. Sales & marketing (83%),
  2. Financial services (76%)
  3. Human resources (71%).

The top three industries where professionals are most confident of available job opportunities in 2022:

  1. Commerce finance (83%)
  2. Tech & transformation (79%)
  3. Supply chain & procurement (77%)

As companies begin to reopen and grow, the HR sector would also see ramped-up headcounts as companies focus more attention on mental health, wellbeing, and employee engagement, the study added.

Therefore, HR business partners, technical recruiters and talent acquisition professionals, and HR project and change management professionals will be in high demand. Those moving into new permanent roles can expect a 5-10% salary increment, while contract roles may be compensated through ways such as completion bonuses.

Overall, hiring managers looking to recruit and retain talent in 2022 are encouraged to deepen their engagement with their existing talent as well. They can do this by addressing key concerns and implementing creative solutions and benefits to address flexibility, wellbeing, and communicating the company’s corporate stand in areas such as cultural matters and diversity, the study highlighted.

Image / 123RF

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Follow us on Telegram and on Instagram @humanresourcesonline for all the latest HR and manpower news from around the region!

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