Singapore’s Top 10 Talent Trends for 2014

Working out which Big Data skills are actually needed and better understanding of social media as a channel are just two of the top talent trends that will shape Singapore’s recruitment landscape in 2014, according to recruiting experts Hays. 


“Singapore’s current economic landscape is looking a lot more positive,” says Chris Mead, Regional Director of Hays in Singapore & Malaysia. “The global growth outlook is firmer, with Singapore’s outlook more upbeat for 2014.  


“In the year ahead, vacancy activity is tipped to increase and the hiring of skilled foreigners to overcome skills gaps is here to stay. 


“The contract market will continue to evolve, while we’ll see a general acceptance of the value of language skills and understanding people in their own language.


“A big area of growth in 2014 will be crossover roles – as the technology, marketing and finance worlds integrate it will be key to find people who can move across all sectors, with multilevel knowledge.


“Also the ability to harness the whole notion of social media will be important, to the point where it is not an add-on but is seamlessly incorporated into the main game,” says Mead.


Hays’ 10 talent trends for 2014:
1. Big Data dilemma: “Without doubt one of the most used (and feared?) terms in the past couple of years is ‘Big Data’,” said Mead. “There is no doubt that the desire to process huge amounts of data in near real-time will drive innovation for how data can be harnessed to inform business and marketing opportunities. Looking beyond the hype, most of the current opinion is that it is really about analytics and a renewed focus on that is what’s required. Therefore in 2014 we will see increased demand for IT Project Managers and Business Analysts who are involved in data manipulation projects. ‘Data Scientists’ will also be in increasing demand; the Harvard Business Review named the role ‘the sexiest job of the 21st century’ since these professionals can recognise patterns in data from multiple sources and then make observations and predictions, which is crucial to business success.”


2. Mobile App Development: The increased usage of tablet-based applications and the associated user experience is driving demand for strong JavaScript Developers, particularly those with HTML5 and CSS3 skills for web development. Yet so few candidates combine both elements and are therefore able to build complete systems. Given insatiable customer demand for apps and an improved user experience, this skills shortage will become a more pressing concern in 2014. It could even cause general delays and interruptions in the evolution of the mobile app market at a time when it is raring to go.


3. Technology’s integration: "In 2014 technology will no longer sit in the domain of the CTO or CIO, but will instead integrate with both marketing and finance,” says Mead. Mead adds this integration of both technology with marketing, and technology with finance, will see staff in these departments become jointly responsible for outcomes. It will create a need for people with multilevel hybrid knowledge.


"For example, in the digital marketing space professionals need to engage technology to inform their decisions. Meanwhile marketing analytics professionals use modelling and analytics practices to improve their marketing outcomes," says Mead.


Business analysis is another example where professionals have a functional background and in-depth knowledge of their industry and company, but also need to translate requirements in technical areas. As a result, marketing and finance professionals will need to enhance their technology skills to remain competitive in the jobs market. 


4. Skills shortage catch-22: Expect high-level skilled professionals to be in short supply in 2014.  Unemployment is very low and employers continue to struggle to attract highly skilled and experienced professionals.


5. Foreign workforce here to stay: Given the ongoing skills shortage, Singapore’s dependency on foreign skilled professionals will remain in 2014. The Fair Consideration Framework, set to come into effect from 1st August 2014, will place the hiring focus on ‘fair’ hiring practices and considering local candidates first where possible, but when domestic skills shortages exist foreigners will still be needed to fill the gaps.


6. Evolution of contract jobs: The contract market in Singapore will continue to grow in response to both permanent candidate shortages and the recognition of the value of this method of engagement.


7. Resourcing digital and social strategies: As confidence returns to the jobs market, the candidate is again ‘king’ however most organisations are yet to fully embrace digital and social media effectively when it comes to recruitment. The expectation is that a presence and activity on social media such as posting a job is enough, but the commitment and resources that are really needed to build effective relationships is vastly underestimated by most. Without that commitment it is very difficult to attract and engage with the right talent at the right time.


8. Staff retention: Employers are often blind to the cause of staff turnover and in 80 per cent of cases an employee chooses to leave due to the job itself, pay and conditions or work relationships – all issues employers can do something about. As employees become more confident and start to explore their options in the jobs market, employers will really need to turn their focus back to retention.


9. Aptitude for learning: Globalisation, the shift towards a knowledge economy and the sheer pace of technological change are creating a need for employees who can learn and respond to both their employer’s and the market’s changing demands. With this in mind, candidates should not only meet the required technical and soft skills for a role, but also possess an aptitude and desire for learning.


10. Borderless: In our global economy the world is becoming borderless and in order to achieve career development people are willing to change countries more readily. With this in mind speaking another language is a hugely important business skill, and it will only become more so in future. For those looking to move up, these skills and the cultural intelligence they often come with are equally indispensable for today’s global executives and the organisations they lead. The insight to understand people on their own terms and in their own language will be increasingly valued in the years ahead.


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