With more than 400,000 locals economically inactive as of June last year, what can companies do to reengage these people to help manage the talent shortage?

Acting Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin addressed the issue of economically inactive Singaporeans in Parliament yesterday, and said the Labour Force Survey in 2012 found 418,000 locals between the ages of 25 and 64 were not contributing to the economy last year.

Of this, 80% were women, and 90,000 of the total said they will be seeking employment in the next two years, Channel News Asia reported.

Charles Png, divisional director of learning and capability development at the Nanyang Technological University, said the talent crunch is “an urgent and relevant issue” in Singapore.

He said HR practitioners have to remain open minded and provide these potential employees opportunities, as they might have years of experience or skills that could benefit the company.

“Being open-minded and helping these individuals to successfully transit from home to work can help to lessen the crunch for talent,” Png said.

According to the survey, those who are currently out of the labour force cited reasons such as family and care-taking responsibilities.

Tan said the government is putting in place measures to support these locals to get back into the workforce, including funding job redesign schemes, implementing flexible working arrangements and hiring the economically inactive.