With its highly educated and multiskilled workforce, world-class infrastructure and strategic location in the Asia-Pacific region, such is Singapore's potential as a tech talent ecosystem that the nation has acquired the moniker 'Silicon Valley of Asia'. The past year has been marked by an influx of world-renowned tech companies establishing hubs in Singapore, and there are more to come. One obstacle to their success, however, is recruitment hesitancy.
Despite a desire to expand, the aftereffects of the pandemic endure, and companies remain cautious of overreaching headcounts. Moreover, border controls and difficulties in attaining work passes means that accessing overseas talent is rarely an option. As a result, many of these companies - in the tech sphere and beyond - are turning to Hays Flexible Recruitment Services (FRS).
'Hays has more than a decade of experience in Singapore, and in that time we have seen the contracting sector mature in its ability to significantly advantage both candidates and employers,' says Paul Newell, Business Director at Hays Singapore.
'To this end we have developed comprehensive flexible recruitment solutions that provide premium candidates by way of a streamlined, fuss free and employer focused model, making it the best contracting option in Singapore.'
The most immediate benefit for recruiters lies in headcount management, as staffing outlays are only required as and when they are needed, whilst external recruitment advertising is negated. Furthermore, as contractors remain Hays employees, administration, interviews and administration are undertaken by the FRS team.
'Yet the greatest advantage is the agility afforded by having direct access to an extensive pool of highly specialised, instantaneously available talent,' continues Paul, 'which means that as and when projects arrive or demands fluctuate, FRS is on hand to fill positions without lengthy onboarding processes.'
Unfortunately, in Singapore contracting has not always been considered a preferential form of employment, and an element of stigma remains. However, candidates are coming round to the possibilities that it provides.
'Professionals in the region are realising that, should they wish to work at one of the large, global tech firms, their current CVs may not meet expectations. However, if they take a temporary role, where requirements may be less exacting, contracting provides an excellent entry point. Once there they can showcase their capabilities, potentially resulting in full-time appointments. If not, then they leave with their CV augmented by a great project at a world class company,' adds Paul.
'Likewise, project managers and developers who as permanent hires would perhaps work on just one or two projects per year, by working at numerous companies they are able to put their hand to many more, often on the most cutting-edge enterprises. This results in a CV standing out, keeps skills up to date and provides a higher level of job satisfaction.
'Furthermore, for candidates from sectors affected by the pandemic, contracting means that they are able to gain experience in a variety of other industries, leading to a new career lease of life.'
Professionals who wish to move into contracting, particularly in the tech sector, must be aware that their skillsets will be under scrutiny. Hard skills such as coding and data-related abilities aside, most companies will be looking out for those who can demonstrate adaptability and are able to put their hands to a variety of tasks. Interpersonal skills are also a must.
'Many of us have spent the last year working from home, functioning by way of scheduled and perfunctory online meetings, and so when we get back into the office reaffirming soft skills will be essential,' says Paul. 'This is especially true of the tech sector, where the stereotype of the coder or developer with few social skills prevails. Should they marry technical abilities with superlative soft skills, they will find themselves on the top of companies' target lists.'
But if companies are determined to attract these top professionals, then it is imperative that they bring temporary staff in line with their full-time employees.
'On the whole, contractors in Singapore are unlikely to receive regular benefits, and unlike in more mature markets they are not compensated at higher rates,' adds Paul. 'This risks creating a division between temporary and permanent staff, but should companies break the disparity working environments will improve, making them more attractive as employers, potentially developing long-term connections.'
And developing connections is at the centre of FRS's modus operandi. Hays has a long history of forging relationships in Singapore, with both companies and candidates, and this will remain crucial as the governemnt continues its drive to boost Singapore resident recruitment.
'Unlike other flexible recruiters, we have a strong local network, meaning that we are perfectly poised to take forward-thinking steps as the gloabal situation improves. And currently, Singapore has 18 months' worth of pent up demand ready to explode, meaning that hiring opportunities abound.
'Fortunately we have an expert team of consultants who can assist candidates with interviews and identify the right talent for employers. We firmly believe that the coming year can be the one where the contracting market finally matures and, most importantly, bears fruit.'
An overview of what other trends have been observed in Singapore's Flexible Recruitment Solutions sector can be viewed below:
Tech candidates receive multiple offers and counter offers, and on average may expect increments of around ten per cent.
As diversity remains a critical issue in the tech space, skilled female candidates can receive offers well above the market price.
The rise in internet banking has swept up candidates into this sector, further depleting the already shallow tech candidate pool.
Up to half of all employees are considering job changes, and as such it is essential that companies focus on retention tactics.
About Hays Singapore
Hays Specialist Recruitment Pte Ltd, Singapore ('Hays Singapore') is one of Singapore's leading recruitment companies in recruiting qualified, professional and skilled people across a wide range of industries and professions.
Hays has been in Singapore for over a decade and boasts a track record of success and growth. We operate across the private and public sector, dealing in permanent, temporary and contracting positions in more than 15 different specialisms, including Accountancy & Finance, Banking & Financial Services, Digital Technology, Engineering, Finance Technology, Human Resources, Information Technology, Legal, Life Sciences, Marketing & Digital, Office Professionals, Procurement, Supply Chain and Sales. Hays Singapore was named the 'Best Small Workplace' in Singapore in 2019 and 2018, and was ranked fourth 'Best Multinational Workplace' in Asia 2020 by Great Place to Work®.
Hays plc (the 'Group') is a leading global professional recruiting group. The Group is the expert at recruiting qualified, professional and skilled people worldwide, being the market leader in the UK and Australia and one of the market leaders in Continental Europe, Latin America and Asia. The Group operates across the private and public sectors, dealing in permanent positions, contract roles and temporary assignments. As at 30 June 2021 the Group employed c.10,800 staff operating from 256 offices in 33 countries across 20 specialisms. For the year ended 30 June 2021:
- the Group reported net fees of £918.1 million and operating profit of £95.1 million;
- the Group placed around 60,000 candidates into permanent jobs and around 220,000 people into temporary roles;
- 17% of Group net fees were generated in Australia & New Zealand, 27% in Germany, 22% in United Kingdom & Ireland and 34% in Rest of World (RoW);
- the temporary placement business represented 61% of net fees and the permanent placement business represented 39% of net fees;
- Technology is the Group's largest specialism, with 26% of net fees, while Accountancy & Finance (14%) and Construction & Property (12%), are the next largest
- Hays operates in the following countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UAE, the UK and the USA