Millennials, ageing workers, talent shortages: Singapore’s key HR challenges revealed

by Hannah Norton02 Apr 2015
With Millennials rapidly entering the employment space, one of the most daunting issues Singapore HR professionals will face this year is the management of a multi-generational workforce, a new survey shows.

Released yesterday, the Randstad Sourceright’s 2015 Talent Trends Report also identified high talent mobility and critical talent scarcity as important concerns in Singapore’s HR space in 2015.

Each generation of workers – from Baby Boomers to Generation Z – is significantly different in the way they communicate, how they use technology and what they expect from their colleagues and managers, the regional director of Randstad Sourceright Asia Pacific Doug Edmonds said.

“To manage this multi-generational workforce, employers need to strengthen their employer brand by understanding what motivates each generation and develop incentives to attract, engage and retain them.”

Another way of bridging the gap between generations is by encouraging engagement through mentoring and coaching – for example between Baby Boomers and Millennials, according to Carolyn Moore, Singapore HR director for advertising and marketing firm J. Walter Thompson.

“It’s interesting for Boomers to learn how this current generation thinks, given the changes in technology, given the GFC, all these things that have impacted their world view. 

“Millennials live in a more interconnected world than any previous generation. The speed of change is quicker than ever before. Following the GFC many are in a different socio-economic environment than previous generations. All of those factors have an impact on their worldview and especially how they view work.”

Another generational shift the report identified was the rise of Singapore’s ageing population.

“Between now and 2030, more than 900,000 Baby Boomers – a quarter of the current citizen population – will enter their silver years,” Edmonds said.

“How HR leaders can effectively manage this change will impact their organisations’ business performance.”

An additional concern highlighted in the research was the significant shortage of professional and technical talent.

“[This explains] why the majority (73%) of HR leaders feel the war for talent still accurately reflects today’s talent environment.”

Sixty-nine per cent of HR leaders surveyed were turning to talent analytics and insights to help them map and address real and potential skills gaps.

“Harnessing talent analytics and predictive workforce intelligence helps business leaders look ahead and anticipate staffing requirements long before they need it,” Edmonds said.
“This includes a data-driven approach to future workforce planning, forecasting potential talent gaps, spotting high-performers early on, and predicting when your workforce is considering jumping ship.”

 With unemployment remaining low at 1.9%, the strong job market in Singapore serves as the number one risk to staff retention, Edmonds said.

“Last year, in a sign of the increasing competition for global talent, worker mobility around the world continued to climb to new heights.”

One third of Singapore employers planned to recruit from overseas because of talent scarcity, he said.

“However, employers can exploit mobility as a talent engagement tool and incorporate it into their employer brand, with assignments in different geographies being a big motivator for employees to develop skills and boost their careers.

“Employers also win – benefitting from the new skills and experiences their internal talent gains across different geographies and cultures,” Edmonds said. 

The report surveyed 350 global HR and talent acquisition leaders, 62% of whom have responsibility for countries in Asia Pacific.

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