SINGAPORE (Feb 20): In view of a more buoyant economic outlook for Singapore and the continued skills shortage, recruitment specialist Hays is advising employers to not neglect employee retention as they seek to hire more talent for their business growth.

According to the 2018 Hays Asia Salary guide, which surveys more than 3,000 organisations in five key Asian countries including Singapore, up-skilling employees is the most popular way of combating skill shortages.

Based on the survey’s findings, 32% of Singapore’s employers are up-skilling their existing employees, 20% say they are improving attraction strategies such as increasing their recruitment budget, and 18% intend to turn to internal transfers to counter skill shortages.

Another 59% – up from 57% in the previous year’s survey – say they will make counter offers “sometimes”, although only 2% of companies in Singapore have an existing policy of counter offering employees when they resign, compared to 4% in 2017.

Among those who have made counter offers, the majority (89%) of employers said they have done so for up to 25% of employees who resigned, while 9% answered 26-50%.

Notably, employers in Singapore remain relatively confident they have the talent they need to meet their current business objectives (68%) compared to just 34% of employers in Japan who felt the same way.

The most confident in the region, however, appears to be employers in Hong Kong (74%), followed by Malaysia and Mainland China at 71% and 66% respectively.

Looking ahead, 45% of employers in Singapore say that “without doubt” skill shortages have the potential to hamper business operations in 2018, and another 49% fear some negative impact is likely.

“Employers will need to stay open to the best ways to recruit, but also retain employees as competition for talent will be fierce in 2018 from other employers in Singapore, but also the region. It is worth noting that 64% of candidates in Singapore taking part in the 2018 Hays Salary Guide research are willing to relocate for a job,” says Lynne Roeder, Managing Director of Hays Singapore.

“Finding the right talent in 2018 will be critical for companies wanting to take advantage of Singapore’s more buoyant economic outlook. We expect competition for quality candidates to intensify as companies pull out all the stops to position for growth in the year ahead.”