If you are looking to fill vacancies in Singapore's job market in 2015, expect to pay a salary premium of 10 to 20% to recruit top local talent.
2014 saw salary hikes of 10 to 20% among active job movers, while stronger candidates - particularly in industries with higher demand - were able to command increments ranging from 15 to 20%.
The Global Salary Survey released by Robert Walters predicts these increases to continue in 2015, as the government's drive to recruit local talent gathers momentum, tightening the domestic talent pool further.
"The employment landscape of 2015 will likely see the competition for Singaporean professionals accelerate," said Toby Fowlston, managing director of Robert Walters Singapore.
"To fulfil the market’s demands, organisations are looking outside of the tight candidate pool and recognising the importance of attracting overseas Singaporeans back home."
Candidates with skills in online content, project delivery, mobile and application development, and user experience will be in demand come 2015, as businesses continue to invest in digital strategies, IT and marketing.
Owing to tightened regulatory measures by the Monetary Authority of Singapore, employers will also continue to face skills shortages in governance areas, such as compliance, internal audit, legal and risk.
Projections for HR professionals
Within the human resources function, HR generalists and business partners in Singapore are expected to command the highest salaries, starting at $200,000 per annum, going up to $400,000 per annum.
Professionals with skills in organisational development (OD) are also top of the list, with salaries ranging between $250,000 to $300,000 per annum in banking and financial services, and up to $320,000 in all other industries.
"OD specialists are very niche, so we don't find a lot of pure OD candidates out there. Typically, only some of the larger, more established organisations can afford this headcount.You wouldn't find an OD specialisation in a smaller setup unless they bring in someone on a project basis," Estelle Ling, consultant for Robert Walters Singapore's human resources specialist division, told Human Resources.
She also highlighted the consistently high demand for HR professionals in compensation and benefits roles, expecting salaries in the range of $220,000 to $350,000 per annum.
"Compensation, beyond just the dollar amount, is what really drives the recruitment market. A lot of organisations now focus on flexi-benefits, versus the whole organisation having the same benefits."
For instance, working mothers may appreciate working from home, while a junior candidate may ask for more annual leave, she explains, making C&B one of the most key HR functions.
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Focus on local talent
With the Ministry of Manpower's thrust on local employment opportunities, Robert Walters' study finds that the employment market has become more "candidate-driven." This has encouraged changes in employers' expectations and ways of working.
"Clients are becoming more flexible in their job descriptions, and it is not always about finding the perfect, ready local candidate. They are open to someone who has potential to grow or can be groomed into the job role," Ling pointed out.
"Also, the hiring process can be a bit longer, in terms of interviews and shortlisting, but we do see value in clients focusing on local talent."
Another outcome of the local talent boost has been a keen interest from employers and the government to attract overseas Singaporeans back to the country. This prompted Robert Walters Singapore to kick off its Balik Kampung initiative about six months ago.
"We have some fantastic local talent, but this campaign hopes to address the issue of the number of jobs versus the candidate pool available," Fowlston told Human Resources.
"We just wanted to make sure we were educating overseas Singaporeans about the job prospects back home. Of course, employment is just one part of the reason they would consider moving back, but we want them to know that job prospects here are good. "
He explained that governance and digital roles, in particular, are in high demand.