Singapore CFOs Say Skills Shortage Affecting Company Revenues

Singapore’s banks and financial services companies are facing increasing competition from foreign markets in their efforts to recruit candidates with the skills they require.

According to an independent survey from specialist recruiter Robert Half, more than three in four (79 per cent) chief financial officers (CFOs) are experiencing more competition from overseas when trying to attract skilled professionals, further intensifying the current skills gap.

The skills gap is having the biggest impact on medium-sized companies, as 94 per cent of CFOs within these organizations saying competition from foreign markets for talent is increasing.

In terms of the scope of demand for skilled professionals sourced from overseas, more than four in 10 (44 per cent) CFOs say they intend to source at least 10 per cent of their workforce from foreign markets.

“Singapore has always been an attractive destination for foreign workers and expatriates. Its global reputation for business excellence and innovation continues to attract skilled financial services professionals from the region,” says Matthieu Imbert-Bouchard, Managing Director at Robert Half Singapore.

“However, despite the effort to recruit more local talent, companies are forced to compete with foreign markets to mitigate the effects of the current skills shortage.”

Strong demand for security and risk management skills

Imbert-Bouchard noted that there is strong demand for financial services professionals with niche skills, especially in compliance, security and risk management. If these roles are not filled locally, then companies are forced to source candidates from foreign talent pools.

Despite how attractive the city-state is for foreign professionals, competition is high within the region for high-calibre candidates, particularly Hong Kong, and Singaporean companies are under increasing pressure to compete with these foreign markets.”

The skills shortage is also having an impact on business operations. More than three in four (79 per cent) CFOs say the shortage is impacting their company’s ability to innovate, while 77 per cent say it is impacting productivity and departmental workloads.

The skills shortage is also affecting business finances, with more than half (59 per cent) of CFOs saying the shortage is having an increasing impact on their company’s revenue.

“Companies need to adapt their staff attraction and retention policies to offset the impact of a skills shortage and keep their top performing employees. And while there is a strong focus for companies to source their staff locally, we are increasingly seeing Singaporean businesses offer attractive remuneration and expatriate packages to senior financial services candidates in order to persuade them to make the move to the city-state.

“In order to mitigate the effects of the skills shortage, local companies should also invest in training their existing staff with the skills their company needs to succeed in the future. During peak periods, the shortage can also be offset by adopting flexible staffing arrangements – businesses can hire interim mangers with the necessary skills and experience to manage any immediate projects,”  Imbert-Bouchard concluded.


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