SINGAPORE (Dec 6): Hays Singapore has published a list of what it foresees to be the top 10 talent trends of 2018, in light of a fast-changing workforce environment and continued economic growth.

In a press release on Tuesday, the recruitment firm says organisations can plan to extract greater value from both people and technology in the year ahead to take advantage of positive conditions in the following ways. 

According to Hays, industries facing high cost pressures – such as banking, life sciences and manufacturing – would do well to make use of contingent workers in 2018 across a greater range of functions. This means high-performing contractors have the potential to command good salaries in the year ahead with the chance of converting to a permanent role.

“Organisations recognise they can bring in top talent for projects via contracting and accordingly are offering more attractive benefits to secure the best people to these roles. For candidates, contracting is also a good way to work on quality projects and keep skill sets relevant, so a candidate is in the best position to convert to a permanent role if the opportunity presents itself,” comments Lynne Roeder, Managing Director of Hays Singapore.

Hays sees interpersonal and soft skills to be in high demand for the year ahead as automation and artificial intelligence (AI) continue to disrupt the workforce – especially in the procurement and finance sectors where candidates with strong soft skills, and who are able to communicate changes and work with technology, will be highly prized.

Meanwhile, as organisations look to address their gender balance issues, Hays foresees organisations increasingly implementing strategies that support diversity – beginning with gender-neutral job advertisements and hiring processes as well as shared parental policies.

Potential hires who are regulatory change professionals; talent management professionals with e-learning experience; candidates with achievements in and know-how to contribute to process improvement; and more sophisticated finance candidates with an ability to engage with the business to help drive decision-making will also be at the top of hiring managers’ lists, predicts Hays.

It also believes the life sciences & technology sectors will be presented the opportunity to utilise their regional teams in order to maximise their headcount capacity and leverage the full value of teams across the region, with more MNCs establishing or moving their regional hubs to Singapore.

With regards to the recruitment process, the firm believes a new model of recruitment – ‘Find and Engage’ as opposed to the traditional ‘Advertise & Apply’ model – will emerge in 2018. This means using digital technology and data science analytics to examine large amounts of data to prepare shortlists of the most suitable candidates, extrapolate meaningful patterns, and gauge how open to new job opportunities a potential candidate is.

In line with this, AI candidate screening is set to significantly accelerate the shortlisting process using automated and machine-learning algorithms.

“Companies in Singapore want to position for growth in 2018. In our conversations with employers, we are hearing that they plan to invest in talent and technology while also keeping a close eye on costs,” says Roeder.

“Companies are looking to the future but things are changing so fast in many sectors that an employer may not yet know the full scope of skills they will need in a role today to be ready for tomorrow,” she adds.