The battle for the world’s top expat talent is warming up as firms in Singapore turn up the heat on their rivals by increasing salaries.
As the economy outpaces predicted growth, recruiters confirm companies are taking on more staff and are looking to qualified and experienced expats to fill the roles.
The government reports the economy surged ahead by 5.1% in the third quarter – up on the 4.2% growth for the previous quarter.
As a result, businesses are expanding, while trying to retain their best expat talent and this demand is pushing up salaries.
Berkeley Recruitment, which specialises in posting expats to Singapore, says 99% of job seekers are expecting higher salaries and firms are finding paying extra is the only way they can keep their best staff.
Limited talent pool
The demand for higher wages is 29% up on the last quarter and Singapore ranks as one of the countries with the biggest appetite for salary demands.
Meanwhile, another report from business facilities firm Regus echoes the findings of the Berkeley study.
Regus research found 46% of Singapore businesses are working on improving staff retention.
The results also note almost 60% of companies in Singapore are taking on extra staff – a 17% increase on last year.
The firm does warn expats that the government is working to encourage companies to take on more local workers, in common with many countries in the Middle East that also rely on high expat numbers in their workforces.
From August 2014, the Singapore government has ordered companies to positively discriminate against local job applicants when recruiting.
The move is expected to drive up wages further as the small city state has a limited talent pool to draw from.
“The economy in Singapore is thriving and business optimism is increasingly positive,” said Berkeley director Wendy Cheong.
“Singapore has gained recognition as the most competitive economy in the Asia Pacific region for the third year running.
“But competition for the best talent is going to fuel salary inflation and the rivalry between companies for the best talent looks to increase rewards and benefits even further.”
Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin has recently announced job creation is a high priority for the government as the economy is restructured.
Between June 2010 and June 2013, employment increased 4% a year, with services, manufacturing, and construction showing the most growth.