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Companies look to overseas Singaporeans to fill jobs: Survey

Amid a tight labour market, competition for Singaporean talent will intensify in 2016, driving up demand for overseas Singaporeans, said recruitment firm Robert Walters.

Singapore: Hiring managers are looking to returning Singaporeans to ease the manpower crunch and meet local employment quotas based on the Fair Consideration Framework, recruitment firm Robert Walters said on Thursday (Jan 21).

According to a survey by Robert Walters, one in five employers are willing to offer salary increments of more than 15 per cent to attract returning Singaporeans. There are 212,500 Singaporeans residing overseas as of June 2015, according to the Department of Statistics.

“The greatest numbers of overseas Singaporeans are in Australia – with about 50,000, the UK – with 30,000, and China – with 25,000,” said Mr Toby Fowlston, Managing Director of Robert Walters Southeast Asia. “And based on our survey, 82 per cent of overseas Singaporeans are keen to return home.”


Employers in Singapore look to attract returning Singaporeans (Info-graphic: Robert Walters)

But boosting employment of returning Singaporeans is not so straightforward, said Ms Ivy Low, International Candidate Manager at Robert Walters.

"Out of 100 overseas Singaporeans (looking for jobs in Singapore), I have to turn away 70." said Ms Low. "Most of this is due to job-skill mismatches, especially among those who have been away for more than five years."

The survey, which polled 654 people, also found that returning Singaporeans were valued by employers for international exposure, multilingual skills, and ability to work in cross-cultural contexts.

HIRING OUTLOOK

For 2016, Robert Walters is seeing "higher levels of recruitment", although salaries are expected to remain flat, in line with inflation rates. However, it said that specialists in niche areas such as cyber security could see salaries increase 10 to 20 per cent.

The most hiring activity is expected to come from the medical services, IT, as well as human resources sectors. There are also growing numbers of contract jobs being offered, particularly in the banking industry.