Learning & Development Asia 2024
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Singapore employers struggle to attract and retain high potentials

As the world of work undergoes a digital transformation, many of today's most sought after skills (especially in tech) might not have existed 10 years ago. As a result, a majority of employers in Singapore are continuing to experience talent attraction and retention challenges.

According to the Willis Towers Watson 2016 Global Talent Management and Rewards Survey, more than 65% of Singapore employers are struggling to attract talent - in particular critical-skill employees (66%), top performers (74%) and high-potential employees (69%).

To make things worse, more than half (52%) also reported having difficulties retaining high potential talent, as well as holding on to top performing talent (56%) as well as critical skill talent (28%).

Across APAC, a similar situation can be seen with more than 60% of employers experiencing difficulty attracting critical-skill employees (63%), top performers (73%) and high-potential employees (72%).

At the same time, six in 10 employers in APAC also reported challenges in retaining high-potential employees (69%), top performers (65%) and criticalskill employees (58%).

ALSO READ: Is your organisation ready to combat “talent poaching”?

Additionally, a separate study by Willis Towers Watson revealed that apart from facing challenges in attraction and retention, employers in the Lion City are also grappling with challenges in engaging employees.

Willis Towers Watson's 2016 Global Workforce Study found that just one-quarter (25%) of employees in Singapore are highly engaged, compared to 39% in APAC.

With trust and confidence in senior leadership ranking in the top five most important reasons for why an employee in Singapore might consider leaving their organisation (26%), it's worrying to see that less than half (44%) of local employees reported having trust and confidence in the job being done by senior leadership. At the same time, just 39% feel that the company’s leaders have a sincere interest in employees’ wellbeing.

Despite the fact that supervision is one of the top engagement factors in Singapore, only 65% of employees said their immediate manager or supervisor treats them with respect, and even fewer said that they help employees with career planning and decisions (38%) or coach them to improve their performance (44%).

Maggy Fang, managing director, talent and rewards — Asia Pacific, Willis Towers Watson, said: "In addition to attracting and retaining talented employees, employers need to focus on engaging employees in order to achieve better business results. Leadership, including the role played by supervisors, managers and senior executives, plays a critical role in driving engagement among their employees."

READ MORE: Employees in Singapore are one of the least engaged in APAC

The disconnect between employers and employees

Perhaps, the reason employers are having difficulty with attraction, retention, and engagement is because they don't see eye to eye with employees.

Willis Towers Watson’s 2016 Global Workforce Study found that while companies in Singapore generally understand that employees prioritise fair pay (61%), opportunities to learn new skills (42%) and job security (41%) when joining a company, their views diverge from those of employees in a few key areas.

For instance, employees in Singapore rate other factors like the physical work environment and healthcare and wellness benefits as important factors when they evaluate a potential employer, while the employers themselves do not place priority on these.

When it comes to important retention drivers, while employees considered job security as a factor, employers do not share the same view.


WTW infographic

Photo / 123RF

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