Recruitment Trends 2022: CNA938 Money Mind Speaks with Reeracoen CEO
On 9 September 2022, our Group CEO Kenji Naito was interviewed live on CNA938 Money Mind. Mr. Naito shared his views on the recruitment trends in Singapore as well as Reeracoen’s innovative solutions for companies to close their workforce gap. Here are some of the key highlights from the live interview:
Why do you think Singapore’s unemployment rate will continue to rise in the short term?
Mr. Naito cited numerous reasons such as rapid digitalisation, a shift in people’s perception of work, restructuring of business models and a shortage of talent for specialised roles. These all result in an increase of the job vacancy to unemployed person ratio in the short to medium term as Singapore continues to recover from the impact of the global Covid-19 pandemic. One key factor Mr. Naito highlighted is the mismatch between the expectations of employers and workers.
What are the gaps in the labour market that need to be filled? And why aren’t we able to fill them?
Though there are different gaps in the labour market, Mr. Naito emphasised the lack of talents needed for certain industries and roles. Digitalisation created a surge in demand for numerous niche roles, particularly in the FinTech industry. Right now, “there is a huge gap between what employers want versus the limited supply of ready-made talent,” said Mr. Naito. Workers who have related experience and qualifications are preferred and sought after by employers globally. Hence, despite the availability of a pool of active jobseekers, there is huge demand for such talent which outstrips the supply.
Mr. Naito recommended that Singapore employers should consider “lowering their entry requirements” as well as “investing in upskilling and in-house training to start closing off their workplace gaps”. Since the Singapore government offers grants and reskilling opportunities, this is a fantastic opportunity for both employers and employees to achieve a mutually beneficial outcome.
What will Singapore need in order to stay competitive? What skills are our workforce lacking to stay ahead?
“As the government announced, Singapore must build a world-class talent pool.” Mr. Naito strongly agreed that Singapore should adopt an offensive strategy of talent acquisition in order to stay competitive.
As for the skills our workforce need to stay ahead, one important skill is adaptability. It is difficult to predict the future; both individuals and companies need to adapt quickly to any circumstances when required. To achieve this, Mr. Naito stressed that “we need to keep learning and studying” to gain marketable skills. For instance, a salesperson not only needs to focus on improving sales, but also has to gain knowledge of digitalisation.
You noted the issue of youth unemployment. Could you tell us what this data is all about?
From 2019 to 2022, youths and those aged above 60 were the only two age groups that increased in their proportion of Own Account Workers (OAWs). Based on these numbers, it would appear that many youths are becoming OAWs. According to Mr. Naito, this means “youths are either choosing to reject traditional full-time employment, or are finding it challenging to enter the workforce”.
Mr. Naito added that youths, fresh graduates in particular, are finding it challenging to get and stay in a job. Due to their lack of work experience, fresh graduates struggle to convince employers to give them a chance. There are also youths who have worked for a year or so and end up quitting their jobs. They quit because they feel disengaged at work and cannot find purpose in what they do.
A Reeracoen survey conducted recently reported that youths today don’t mind working hard, provided they find a job in which they can contribute. They are “searching for meaningful work and a purpose”, said Mr. Naito.
Speaking of the younger workforce and even women, they are prioritising work-life balance and even flexible work arrangements as well as looking for opportunities to develop their career. Are employers struggling to fulfil these demands that they have?
Mr. Naito believes Singapore employers have been trying their best to adapt. “Finding a balance can be quite challenging for employers because companies today need to effectively juggle productivity with keeping employees happy,” said Mr. Naito. While offering some sort of flexibility to their workers, employers still have to inculcate the company’s culture and fosture team bonding.
In the past few years, most if not all Singapore companies have already been offering some form of flexible working arrangement. Reeracoen is no exception.
As this trend of flexible work arrangements is here to stay, Mr. Naito mentioned that it is important that companies keep all communication channels open with their workers, while keeping themselves updated with the latest HR trends. Only then can companies retain and attract the best talent for their business in this global war for talent.
What can employers then do to shift their mindsets and employment policies to ensure they stay competitive and productive?
Employee engagement is one of the most crucial factors for companies to stay competitive. Regular surveys can be conducted to measure employee engagement and facilitate internal communication. Some companies are also creating new positions such as Human Resource Business Partner to keep employees happy while ensuring productivity remains high. In this age of innovation, Mr. Naito reiterated the need for human power—not AI—to solve pressing issues like climate change.
About Kenji Naito
Kenji Naito is the Group CEO of Reeracoen Group, a leading staffing and recruitment agency that connects companies who are seeking talents with high-calibre candidates. Having worked in the recruitment industry for over 16 years across Asia, Mr. Naito brings with him a wealth of experience. Mr. Naito exemplifies The Reeracoen Way by providing his clients with excellent service. Mr. Naito has also established a non-governmental organisation (NGO) called “Plus One” in 2003 where they help to support the children living in villages in the Philippines.
Reeracoen Singapore Pte Ltd is one of Singapore's leading recruitment agencies. Our extensive networks effectively source and match high-caliber candidates to our partners. We take pride in our solutions provided to our partners, assisting not only job seekers in finding suitable employment, but also supporting business enterprises in talent acquisition. Our clients enjoy a peace of mind knowing that as part of the Neo-career group, Reeracoen is committed to delivering the same Japanese professionalism and service quality across our 12 offices in 8 Asian countries.