Singapore’s superlative position as a digital nation is shaping both demand- and supply-sides of the employment landscape. This is just one of the Hays top 10 talent trends for 2019 in Singapore, according to recruiting experts Hays.

“As Singapore leads the way in social media penetration in South East Asia with 83 per cent of the population on social media, it is not unusual that this number reflects the changing dynamics between employers, employees and prospective employees. 2019 will not only see a continuous proliferation in the use of social media by employers to attract candidates, but also the rise in candidates making use of their social media profiles and presence as part of their professional branding,” says Grant Torrens, Business Director at Hays Singapore. “We are seeing more and more candidates from a range of specialisms using YouTube video submissions and leveraging on their LinkedIn and other social media profiles such as LinkedIn to highlight their skills and experience, and stand out amongst the crowd, instead of submitting traditional CVs.”

In another example of how digitalisation is affecting the workforce, Hays research shows that HR teams are increasingly adopting new technologies in their internal processes. “Singaporeans are becoming digitally-savvy in every aspect of their lives and demand nothing less than instantaneity in the same regard. In addressing such needs, HR departments are progressively conscious that candidates are using mobile devices to search for job opportunities. To compete in the battle for talent in 2019, employers will need to ensure that they are providing mobile-friendly touch points for candidates in the entire recruitment process,” adds Grant.

“AI, in addition, is becoming a critical tool in a talent acquisition manager’s toolbox. HR and recruitment teams are using cognitive solutions to screen high volumes of applications in order to quickly sieve out perfect profiles for specific job roles. Cognitive computing is also enabling employers to leverage on several data sources to gain an understanding of their candidate profiles.” “While it has been a longstanding concern that AI might replace HR jobs, the fact persists that advanced technology and methods are bringing new opportunities to the table. Although administrative task-based work may be greatly reduced as a result of this evolution, HR leaders are required to deploy these technologies in a way is employee-centric. HR directors and HR Business Partners are therefore encouraged to not only be adaptable but also commercially minded to assess the returns on investments of AI in HR processes,” he notes.

Hays top 10 talent trends for 2019 in Singapore are:
1) Social media in the employment landscape
There is heightened activity on social media from both employers and candidates in a bid to enhance employer branding and personal branding respectively. Internal HR teams have been realising the benefits of social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook to showcase their employer value propositions as an integral part to their efforts to secure the best talent in the market, and this trend will continue in 2019. Candidates are also getting creative in the way they market themselves through the use of multimedia and moving away from traditional CVs to catch the eye of prospective employers.

2) Flexi hours
Companies are progressively conscious of the importance candidates place on flexi hours as a key benefit. As such, they are taking full advantage of technologies that enable flexi hours or work-from-home schemes to attract new joiners and retain employees. In a survey conducted by leading recruitment experts Hays has uncovered that 44 per cent of organisations in Singapore actively promote flexible and agile working as the default position of their business cultures and support it overtly, as opposed to the 33 per cent of respondents that said otherwise.

3) Digital skills in demand
In the same vein as the Singapore government’s efforts to transform the country into a ‘Smart Nation’, companies are keeping pace with the latest digital technologies in hopes that such expertise will permeate every aspect of their organisations. Digital competence has therefore been cited as one of the top prerequisites for employers when hiring talent. Candidates with digital know-how and display a willingness to learn emerging technologies in this ever-changing landscape will continue to be highly coveted by businesses in 2019 and beyond.

4) Diversity and inclusion
Employers in Singapore have expressly included diversity and inclusion as a major component in their talent management strategies. In the aforementioned survey, Singaporeans cited that greater diversity and inclusion in the workplace could have the most positive impact in ‘company culture’, ‘staff morale’ and ‘organisational leadership’. This has translated into 40 per cent of organisations in Singapore implementing diversity and inclusion targets or KPIs, a higher number than that of the 33 per cent average in Asia*.

5) Mobile-friendly job portals
In line with changing user behaviour, and to enhance the experience of potential job candidates, talent acquisition and recruitment teams have been ramping up their efforts in creating mobile-friendly job portals where jobseekers are able to easily apply for jobs on-the-go. 2019 will see a rise in such functionalities to facilitate mobile job applications.

6) Continuous learning
Alongside flexi hours, job seekers have been increasingly concerned about the learning and development opportunities which an organisation is able to offer. Many top-notch talents in the market in 2019 will expect to be supported in their continuous development. Employers are urged to include employee development as a critical portion of their talent strategies.

7) Artificial Intelligence in HR
AI is allowing HR and recruitment teams to screen massive amounts of applications in order to quickly find the perfect profiles. There are also emerging technologies adopted by employers in Singapore that enable them to suss out highly suitable but passive candidates according to the latter’s online behaviours. With such functionalities at their disposal, HR teams have been improving efficiencies with the help of AI in securing the best talents in a candidate short market.

8) Greater emphasis on cultural fit at interview
The importance of technical skills is quickly overtaken by an ever-increasing emphasis on a talent’s fit with an organisation’s culture and values. Many organisations are implementing tests at the initial stages of the interview process to assess if a candidate aligns with their way of doing business, values and belief system.

9) Temporary and contract work
Temporary and contract work in Singapore has gained a lot of prominence in recent years, and 2019 will see a continuation of this trend. Employers are better appreciating the benefits of having a larger proportion of temporary and contract workers including the reduced long-term labour costs and shorter hiring process. Candidates, particularly millennials, are also more open than ever to take on non-permanent roles, given the many benefits that such an agreement can offer.

10) Greater emphasis on employee experience
In this talent starved market, employers have been arduous in their talent management to acquire, hire and retain talented employees, and this trend will only continue throughout 2019. The importance of candidate engagement is at an all-time high, with organisations closely monitoring the satisfaction of their staff.

*Based on a survey conducted in Hays’ operating markets in Asia: Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Mainland China and Japan

Source: Hays