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Competition for talent will be the biggest challenge for Singapore services companies in 2018

Competition for talent will be the biggest challenge for Singapore services companies in 2018

Human Resources leaders from Singapore’s services industries voted the competition for talent as their biggest concern in the coming year at a panel discussion hosted by Workday.

The panel discussion, which was themed on Engaging Singapore’s Workforce of the Future, included: David Hope, Asia Pacific, Workday; Wong Su-Yen, CEO, Human Capital Leader Institute; Ong Whee Teck, CEO, Trusted Source; Miguel Bernas, VP Digital Marketing, MediaCorp; and Merle Chen, CHRO, Lo & Behold Group.

In the survey at the gathering of human resources and digital transformation leaders, 40% said competition for talent was the biggest issue they face, followed by managing workforce diversity (23%); a lack of data and insights (23%). Changing work habits, including flexible working arrangements, which is increasingly prevalent in the services industry, was seen as less of an issue with only 14% of leaders citing this an issue.

Half (50%) of leaders also forecast Big Data Analytics to be the technology which will have the greatest on employee engagement in Singapore’s services companies in 2018. Around one in four leaders also forecast Social Media (27%) and Artificial Intelligence (23%) to have the most impact.

On barriers, 43% of leaders said cost of implementation was the biggest barrier to digital transformation in HR in the services industry.

“New technologies such as Big Data Analytics are impacting how Singaporean companies plan, manage and develop their workforces,” says David Hope, Asia Pacific President, Workday. “As Singapore’s services industries continue to grow and diversify, we forecast they will be most impacted.”

Panellists also discussed how the application of new technologies to HR management presents opportunity improve employee engagement and management.

Merle Chen, CHRO, Lo & Behold Group, said: “Technological advances are changing the HR profession, and seeing HR Managers take on a more strategic role within companies. This creates an opportunity where HR can drive change and make a positive difference in enabling the employee experience. Retention is a growing issue for Singapore services companies as competition for talent increases.”

The challenges cited for Singapore companies looking to apply new technologies to their HR management included cyber-security and digital capability.

Wong Su-Yen, CEO, Human Capital Leader Institute (HCLI), said: “Cyber-security risks and finding digital-capable talent remain significant barriers for Singapore companies to adopting new HR technologies.  It’s important that the public and private sector continues to work together to find ways to address and overcome these issues.”

The importance of having a strong culture to support digital transformation and driving transformation from the top, was also a prominent theme in discussions.

Ong Whee Teck, CEO, Trusted Source, said: “To be successful, digital transformation needs to be driven from senior management. People, processes and technologies must all align to drive change. It’s not just an IT thing.”

Miguel Bernas, VP Digital Marketing, MediaCorp, said: “Culture is fundamental for digital transformation. Companies usually approach transformation through organisational restructuring or change and there is rarely a strong enough focus on driving cultural change to ensure that hearts and minds are behind new digital initiatives.”

Looking ahead for 2018, digital transformation was forecast by all panellists to be a fundamental focus for Singapore companies in the coming year.

David Hope said, “As a technology company it’s an exciting time to be in Singapore. We see more companies using digital technology to transform how they do business externally and internally. We look forward to continuing to be part of the evolution of employee engagement in Singapore.”

The panel discussion took place at the Sofitel Singapore City Centre adjoining Workday’s new Asia Pacific headquarters in Guoco Tower, which opened earlier in 2017 to accommodate regional expansion.