TL;DR – Singapore is second-place, behind Switzerland, in attracting talent. But we are ranked 36th for retaining talent.
According to the Global Talent Competitiveness Index 2022, Singapore is ahead of 131 countries when it comes to attracting talent. We are the only Asian state to make the European-dominated top 20 in the list.
Do the rankings matter?
According to Mr Helmi Yusoff from global consultancy Mercer, studies like these offer useful insights to global workers looking to relocate to another country.
The 2022 report covered 133 countries and 175 cities across all groups of income and levels of development.
The study draws on 69 macroeconomic and country-level variables and rates how countries attract overseas talent while helping local workers with regulatory and business environments. It also considers how well a country grooms workers through training and how workers are retained with sustainable practices.
Singapore struggles to retain talent
Singapore is ranked amongst the world’s five best in every aspect except one – ranked 36th for retaining talent.
According to Dr Bruno Lanvin, the report’s co-editor and distinguished fellow, Talent retention includes both the ability to attract talent from abroad and to offer sufficient opportunities for locally born talent to stay or return home after studying or working abroad. In this respect, Dr Lanvin sees that Singapore suffers because of the small size of its domestic market.
Why Singapore should improve its talent retention efforts
It can cost organizations six to nine months of an employee’s salary to replace them, and this is likely to be even higher for the replacement of international employees. The impact of losing international talent could also be greater, especially for countries that are working to position themselves as key business hubs within Asia.
Mr Yusoff said organisations can work on getting what workers really want. “According to the 2022 mercer’s Global Talent Trends report, six in 10 employees would join or stay with an organization only if they can work flexibly or remotely,” he said.
Other variables that pulled Singapore’s ranking down in talent retention were:
- Pension coverage, social protection and environmental production under the sustainability component.
- Personal rights and physician density under the lifestyle component. Physician density refers to the number of medical doctors, including generalists and specialist medical practitioners, for every 10,000 people.
Singapore needs to remain competitive
According to a report by HCLI – a subsidiary of Temasek Management Services, wholly owned by Singapore’s state investment firm Temasek Holdings, and supported by MOM and the Singapore Economic Development Board, developing local talent, and attracting global talent have been key drivers of Singapore’s economy.
Mrs Doris Sohmen-Pao, its chief executive officer, said: “Aligned with this goal… Singapore’s investments centred on human capital development have helped ensure the smooth calibration of our talent pool and helped tide us over the (Covid-19) pandemic and volatility of the markets.”
She added: “Accelerated by the current waves of events, these shifts will continue to be shaped and sharpened, which warrants our continued attention on establishing and concretising Singapore’s position as a global talent hub.”
Dr Lanvin shared that smaller economies have the most to lose from a collapse of trade, investment, and talent flows. He added that the one challenge was to define what tomorrow’s jobs would be amid a world of uncertainties, and another, was to involve younger generations in future workforce policies and strategies.