The skills gap facing many companies in Singapore is about more than the skills themselves, especially when it comes to companies looking to hire professionals in the finance industry/function.
More than three-quarters of CFOs note that they see greater competition from overseas corporations who want to attract the same skilled professionals.
A recent study from Robert Half showed that because of the competition, finance companies and banks are running into more difficulties as they meet with and try to attract potential employees. In fact, the study showed that 79 percent of CFOs report that this overseas competition is making the skills gap even wider.
Medium-sized companies are being hit the hardest, with 94 percent of CFOs in these firms noting that overseas companies are increasing their offers to talented potential employees.
However, that hasn’t stopped almost half of these Chief Financial Officers from doing the same thing. Around four in 10 — or 44 percent — said that they will also look overseas to hire skilled professionals for their own departments. They plan to look for and fill at least 10 percent of their positions with employees from foreign countries.
Robert Half Singapore’s Managing Director Matthieu Imbert-Bouchard notes that Singapore has an advantage as a result of its global reputation, innovation, and business excellence. All three factors are traits that financial services professionals appreciate. Even so, the report shows that when the companies in Singapore want to add employees, they have no choice but to work with the foreign markets to offset the skills shortage in the country.
The skills shortage weighs heavy on the mind of CFOs. Almost 79 percent of these CFOs note that their innovation — in both ideas and execution — is hindered because of the shortage. Hong Kong is a strong regional competitor, and if companies in Singapore want to compete regionally, they need to continue stepping up their game.
If companies want to attract skilled talent, they should be willing to re-examine their policies for attracting prospective employees and retaining them for years to come. There has been an increasing focus lately on looking at ways to put together packages that would attract talented and senior candidates, both local and foreign, to alleviate the skills gap in the financial sector.