SINGAPORE (Feb 22): Employers in Singapore are struggling to attract and retain top talent, according to a Willis Towers Watson survey of more than 2,000 companies globally.

Three in four employers here say they are struggling to attract top-performing employees, while 56% reported challenges in retaining these talents.

“The recently launched plans by Singapore’s Committee on the Future Economy (CFE) highlight the need for businesses to be innovative, adopt stronger technological capabilities and integrate fresh approaches to respond to the changing business landscape,” says Darryl Parrant, Country Leader, Talent & Rewards, Singapore, Willis Towers Watson.

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Meanwhile, a separate Willis Towers Watson survey of 31,000 employees worldwide sheds light on this phenomenon: more than a third of Singapore workers report being disengaged from their employers, compared to the regional average of 26%.

On the other hand, just a quarter of employees say they are highly engaged, significantly lower than an average of 39% in the region and 37% globally.

According to the study, employees with flexible and alternative work arrangements were more highly engaged and less likely to leave their employers.

However, close to half of employees also felt that they needed to change jobs in order to advance in their career.

“While employers and employees agree that career advancement opportunities are a key driver of attraction, it is worrying to see that many employees feel they are not being supported by their immediate supervisors,” Parrant says.

The global advisory, broking and solutions company says the two studies highlight the need for employers in Singapore to adopt fresh approaches to overcome the challenges of attracting and retaining top talent.

This is especially so in light of Singapore’s current economic restructuring and the advent of the global digital economy, it adds.

“The trend is towards more mobile and virtual workforces and the freelance or ‘contingent’ worker will continue to be an important component of effective integrated workforce strategies,” Parrant says.

According to Willis Towers Watson, Singapore is expecting a larger growth in share of contingent workers over the next three years at 59%, compared to 29% regionally.

“As the republic continues its economic transformation, workplaces are experiencing a shift in how work gets done,” Parrant says. "Work is going to dramatically shift, and we need to shift with it. It's just a question on how, when, and why."