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Top 10 HR Trends to watch for in Singapore in 2023
HR Trends

Top 10 HR Trends to watch for in Singapore in 2023

Sharon Monteiro
September 1, 2023

The HR evolution in Singapore has been on for more than two years now. Many had hopes of leaving the pandemic behind and moving on with their regular HR operations as before. But little did they know, there was something else in store. The Covid-19 pandemic gave rise to a new jargon of words that would describe the new reality of work. Remote work, hybrid work, back to office, Covid-19 policies, social distancing, and much much more. 

However, across Singapore’s talent economy, “people-centricity” has become more than just a jargon. The pandemic dealt its share of pressures, but HR in Singapore emerged by learning a great deal from it. Here are the top HR trends to watch for in Singapore in 2023. 

Top 10 HR trends to watch for in Singapore in 2023

1. HR teams to work in a hybrid capacity

One fo the first HR trends to watch for in Singapore in 2023 is about the new way of work - hybrid working. Employers in Singapore are expecting most of their workforce to work remotely in the first quarter of 2023, except for those in production/manufacturing and frontline sales/customer-facing roles. 

According to the ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey Q1 2023, For human resources, 24% of employers surveyed said that they would expect their HR teams to work remotely for the foreseeable future, while 65% would expect a hybrid work arrangement, and 8% would expect HR to work in the physical office all the time. 

HR trends to watch for in Singapore
How employers in Singapore are approaching hybrid work

2. Increased demand for talent acquisition specialists

With HR practices in Singapore returning to normalcy over the last year and the gradual return to pre-pandemic activity levels, the hiring market will see significant growth, owing in part to the restarting of delayed growth plans and the predicted rise as a regional hub. According to the hiring trends in Singapore in 2023, most businesses prioritise finding and retaining talent, which will result in an increase in demand for Talent Acquisition specialists, including Manager/Director level professionals. 

In order to successfully find talent in an increasingly competitive market, the latter are expected to be knowledgeable in attrition prevention, diversity and inclusion hiring, as well as global talent acquisition strategies.

3. High demand for flexible recruitment

Organizations are quickly recognising the benefits of flexible recruitment as one of the top HR trends to watch for in Singapore in 2023. Over the year, there will be a sustained high demand for a contingent workforce in the technology sector, particularly as more FinTech companies establish operations in Singapore. 

Candidates who can complete projects within tight deadlines in a high-pressure environment will be highly valued. According to the hiring trends in Singapore in 2023, employers have also shown a preference for hiring local talent, even when there is a scarcity of talent with the niche skillsets they require.

HR trends to watch for in Singapore
Net employment outlook for Singapore in Q2 of 2023

4. Companies with hybrid work models are given preference

Singapore has been in and out of lockdowns over the last year, with little noticeable impact on ability or quality of work. As a result, more organisations are beginning to accept remote work as the norm, with some even going so far as to modify their work policies to permanently offer flexible working options. 

This is consistent with the shift in priorities observed among working professionals in the aftermath of the pandemic, who are increasingly preferring companies with such flexible work policies in place.

5. Growing contingent workforce

According to Persolkelly’s 2023 APAC Workforce Insights, Singapore ranked on the higher side of the spectrum at 60% for the highest adoption rates of a contingent workforce. One of the major reasons cited by the employers surveyed was to fill specialised roles to ensure little to no disruption to operations and the business overall. Additionally, one of the top sought after in-demand skills for the contingent workforce was general administration skills. 

HR trends to watch for in Singapore

6. Concern for the well-being of employees

The increasing investment in employee welfare is the next HR trend to watch for in Singapore. In today's competitive job market, it is critical for employers to make employees feel valued, especially in the public sector where salaries may not be comparable to those of multinational corporations or unicorn start-ups.

Employee benefits that are commonly available in today's private sector include:

Fitness subsidies

These have become commonplace during the pandemic, as employers seek to assist employees who are dealing with physical inactivity and mental health issues.

Flexible spending accounts

These allow employees to spend a set amount of money on a variety of goods and services that promote personal well-being and health. 

Special recognition

Managers use these to recognize employees who went above and beyond their duties to complete a task. 

Points for appreciation

These are for employees to recognise their coworkers who have made significant contributions outside of their normal responsibilities for the benefit of the company. To reward these employees, these points can be redeemed for vouchers from negotiated vendors.

Public sector organisations should strive to include at least some of the above in their employee benefits packages. And such coverage should extend to all levels of staff, not just the most senior or those with the most potential.

7. Reducing distracting, time-consuming, and low-value work

Nothing is more frustrating than being asked to do tedious and ineffective work when one is focused on a job and pressed for time. As a result, HR practices in Singapore are beginning to implement systems that will allow such administrative tasks to be automated and simplified. Modern human capital management technologies can help employees stay safe while on the road and provide assistance when needed.

They can keep important documents like visas and vaccination certificates on hand for quick access. These capabilities increase employee satisfaction by reducing the stress of business travel.

And automating travel and expense management does more than just make employees happy and improve retention. They also provide finance teams and the organisation with a better understanding of spend. Budgeting is enhanced, controls are tightened, and compliance is achieved more efficiently and effectively.

8. Workers continue to seek a better work-life balance

Jaya Dass, Managing Director of Randstad Singapore and Malaysia said, “As job vacancies abound and outnumber job seekers in the market, many employees are tempted to find better job opportunities. Besides wanting a higher salary, many employees are also looking for a holistic work experience, which includes flexible work schedules and a conducive environment for them to grow in their careers. Employers that are looking to retain their workforce should take action to meet these new employee expectations.”

According to a Randstad survey, between July and December 2021, 18% of Singaporeans changed employers or switched careers. Work-life balance, salary and employee benefits, and a pleasant work environment were the top three motivators for this change.

The COVID-19 pandemic has altered people's perceptions of what they want in a job and an employer. With 'work-life balance' being the most important factor motivating people to change jobs in Singapore, many job seekers are looking for employers who provide good employee well-being initiatives and a positive organisational culture. As a result, this top HR trend to watch for in Singapore signals that it is critical for business leaders and employers to take proactive measures not only to improve and maintain the well-being of their workforce, but also to communicate their efforts to attract more talent to their organisation.

HR trends to watch for in Singapore

9. Upskill employees  for better employee productivity and security

2 in 5 Singapore employees (41%) are afraid of losing their jobs and plan to change jobs in the first half of 2023, a 5% increase from 2021. Employee upskilling through digital transformation is one of the HR trends to watch for in Singapore. Not only has digital transformation enabled employees to work remotely, but it has also created new opportunities for employees to upskill themselves in order to remain employable.

If businesses do not train their employees on time and adequately, the digital competency gap will widen, and employees will begin to worry about their job security and career prospects. Employers in Singapore are beginning to plan training and development programmes to help their employees become more adept at using digital technologies and thinking creatively in order to remain competitive. Employees would be less afraid of losing their jobs as a result of a lack of relevant training or skills, while increasing employee productivity and efficiency.

10. Strengthen manager-staff communication

Following nearly two years of disruption caused by the pandemic, bonds between employees and the organisation must be rebuilt and strengthened, as one in three employees in Singapore feels disconnected from their leaders and colleagues.

This situation necessitates a rethinking of HR's role and the development of various HR initiatives to promote employee inclusion, well-being, and recognition. Although remote and flexible work cultures will dominate workplace trends in 2023, effective measures should be taken to build and nurture bonds with employees in a remote environment.

The year 2023 will see a new approach to employee engagement, with work trends that take into account various behavioural patterns. When it comes to the HR Trends to watch for in Singapore, engagement is no longer a reliable metric for predicting business outcomes because it has been replaced by 'Great Work,' which leads to increased retention, innovation, and strong workplace cultures. When it comes to showcasing their outstanding work efforts, employees exhibit a variety of behaviour patterns. Socializers, taskers, builders, coasters, and achievers are the five types of great work behaviours. Regardless of employee persona, every employee can perform well and present excellent work.

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