Employers suffering ‘acute talent shortage’

by Lauren Acurantes20 Oct 2016
The latest report by ManpowerGroup Singapore revealed that 51% of employers in the country are having a difficult time filling positions and called it the “most acute talent shortage since the recession”.

Twenty-two per cent of those surveyed said that lack of experience is the number one reason they can’t hire new employees, followed by jobseekers asking for more pay than offered (21%) while a ‘lack of available applicants/no applicants’ (17%) rounded out the top three.

“This highlights the mismatch in job and skills that currently exists in the Singapore job market,” said the report.

Asked if it would be prudent for companies to relax their hiring criteria, Linda Teo, country manager of ManpowerGroup Singapore told HRD: “Employers could relax their hiring criteria to help bridge the skills gap - but this would depend on the demand and supply of certain job functions.” 

“Understandably, some companies could choose to do this to address urgent manpower so that they can develop existing or current talent to bridge the skills gaps,” she added. 

She warned, however, that doing so is merely a short-term measure “to plug existing manpower needs but not as an efficient or cost-effective long-term solution.”

Do what a majority of Singaporean companies (51%) are doing instead and invest in upskilling your workforce, she advised.

“Upskilling our Singapore workforce is critical to ensure organisations have the skills they need to accelerate performance and everyone has access to the opportunities on offer,” she said.

She also listed down three other strategies that companies can utilise to alleviate staff shortages:

1)    Tie up with tertiary institutions or universities to offer year-round internship programmes to have access to the start of the latter’s career;
2)    Have meaningful career conversations with employees to understand their motivations and help identify skills required in their employability and              career growth;
3)    Adopt alternative work arrangements – flexible, part-time, telecommuting, or remotely – to attract and retain much-needed talent.  

“Recognising employees’ unique needs and circumstances is a large draw that could help staff become more productive when they are able to achieve a certain balance between work and personal/family life,” she said. 

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