SINGAPORE (March 29): There are quite a few disparities between Singapore’s employer and employee views on what should be prioritised within a company – giving rise to likely contributing factors to companies’ current struggles with talent attraction and retention, according to recent data from two surveys conducted by Willis Towers Watson.

In a press release issued on Wednesday, the risk management, insurance brokerage and advisory group says more than 65% of Singapore’s employers surveyed are struggling to attract talent, even as half of the organisations in Asia Pacific reported a hiring increase over the last year.  

The Willis Towers Watson 2016 Global Talent Management and Rewards Survey finds that at least six out of 10 Singapore-based employers have indicated facing difficulties in attracting critical-skill employees (66%), top performers (74%) and high-potential employees (69%).

52% of employers also reported having trouble with retaining high potential talent, with other problems including holding on to top performing talent (56%) and critical skill talent (28%).

On the other hand, the Willis Towers Watson’s 2016 Global Workforce Study – a survey of 31,000 employees worldwide, including 12,868 from Asia Pacific – shows that employees in Singapore rate other factors like the physical work environment and healthcare and wellness benefits as important factors when they evaluate a potential employer, while the employers themselves do not place priority on these.

In particular, the group has identified employee engagement as an area for improvement in Singapore.  

A mere 25% of employees in Singapore say they are “highly engaged” in their jobs, while 44% reported having trust and confidence in the job being done by senior leadership, and just 39% feel that the company’s leaders have a sincere interest in employees’ wellbeing.

This phenomenon is “worrying”, says Willis Towers Watson, as the survey also found that trust and confidence in senior leadership rank in the top five most important reasons for why an employee in Singapore might consider leaving their organisation (26%).

Even while supervision is rated as one of the top engagement factors among employees in Singapore, only 65% believed their immediate manager or supervisor treated them with respect, and even fewer (38%) said they received help on career planning, coaching, and decision-making from them (44%).

“Many of today’s most sought-after specialities, such as cloud computing and mobile app design, did not exist a decade ago. This disruption is causing a skilled worker deficit in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields and a surplus of low-skilled workers in others, such as administration and manufacturing,” comments Maggy Fang, managing director, talent and rewards, Asia Pacific, Willis Towers Watson.

“In addition to attracting and retaining talented employees, employers need to focus on engaging employees in order to achieve better business results. Leadership, including the role played by supervisors, managers and senior executives, plays a critical role in driving engagement among their employees,” she adds.