The Foreign Talent Landscape is Changing in Singapore
Singapore has been and still remains one of the financial services epicentres within APAC, however we are noticing a rapid change in foreign workforce entering Singapore.
Around 800,000 foreign workers are currently employed in Singapore, and we have witnessed a sequential year-on-year increase for the last five years.
However, the introduction of government policies such the fair consideration framework and the continuation of internal promotions of Singaporeans into top layer management has made it increasingly difficult for foreigners at any level to secure an employment pass in Singapore.
Companies are more inclined to hire local talent and organically groom them into senior positions, rather than hire oversees workers who have often commanded much higher packages. The days where high expatriate packages were handed out, have unfortunately diminished.
Foreign to local talent ratios are now more prevalent than ever and companies have to be dominated by local workforce.
A high volume of oversees talent continue to express their intent to relocate to Singapore, in addition to candidates who have already made the move without securing a role. However, due to limited opportunities, we are seeing a rise in people only having a short stint on the island; even people who boast top tier universities and high level qualifications as part of their portfolio.
ACA qualified Michael Sharples arrived from the UK in July 2015, however only found employment in the last couple of weeks and came very close to heading back to the UK. He said: “I underestimated the difficulties of finding a role in Singapore. I must have interviewed at around 15-20 companies for various finances roles both banking and industrial roles, however the preference was always for a Singaporean.”
Now about to start work for a leading Asset Management organisation, he added: “Thankfully, I was able to find a role which related to my skill-set, but I came within weeks of probably heading back. I even joined expat groups to see if this was a common trend, and everyone was saying how tough it was.”
We certainly envisage the amount of foreign workforce coming in to Singapore to significantly decrease over the next couple of years.