Wednesday 23 May 2012

Singapore has 3rd lowest employment risk: Aon Hewitt 2012 People Risk Index

But study of 131 cities also cites 3 trends as dampeners in talent development
By Toh Yong Chuan, The Straits Times, 22 May 2012

IN THE Asia-Pacific region, Singapore presents the lowest hiring-related risks to employers, says a human resource consultancy.

A study by Aon Hewitt has ranked Singapore third, behind New York and Toronto, on its list of the world's 10 cities with the lowest employment risks.

Aon Hewitt's study of 131 cities said such risks to employers can come from, for example, not being able to find enough people for available positions, or a government instituting policies that stand in the way of hiring the right talent for the job.

The study pointed out, however, that although Singapore does well in encouraging talent development, three trends are dampeners:
- Its small, ageing population, which could whittle the size of the future pool of workers by 2 per cent to 4 per cent in 10 years; 
- Its lower tertiary enrolment relative to other Asia-Pacific cities, which could mean a lack of qualified professionals down the road; and 
- Its high staff turnover of 10 per cent, which implies 'an unstable, less committed workforce'.
Mr Rick Payne, an Aon Hewitt practice leader, told The Straits Times the study will enable companies to decide where to put their operations in Asia.

Citing an example of a client who eventually picked Singapore over Shanghai, he said: 'Though the costs in Singapore are higher, the employment risks are much lower than in Shanghai. In the long run, the higher costs are worth it.'

Shanghai is ranked No. 55.

In Singapore's favour are the 'very low risks' of the Government introducing policies that hinder the management of talent.

The bureaucracy here stands out for its non-confrontational, transparent work processes and its willingness to work with the private sector on 'human capital issues'.

There is also 'low risk' of companies not being about to find talent because Singapore sees the importance of raising the quality of the workforce, even as it keeps its door open to foreign talent.

The harmonious labour environment and flexible labour laws are also plus factors, the study said.

But the three 'minus points' do not worry Singapore International Chamber of Commerce chief executive Phillip Overmyer.

He said: 'The study reflects what we already know - that Singapore is an excellent location for companies to base their operations.'

The Government is already working on the weak areas, and the high turnover comes from a tight labour market, he added.

Asked if he could name a specific talent risk global companies here may face, he said it would be that of not having enough workers who think out of the box. In other words, creativity is lacking.

Germany-based international marketing communications firm Globeone picked Singapore as its South-east Asian office last year.

Its managing director here, Ms Angela Ling, said she is not fazed by the reputedly high staff turnover.

She said: 'It depends on the nature of the industry. In some areas of work that are project-based, such as consultancy, a degree of churn is all right.'

TOP 10
THE cities with the lowest employment risks:

1. New York

2. Toronto

3. Singapore

4. Montreal

5. London

6. Los Angeles

7. Boston

8. Chicago

9. Vancouver

10. Copenhagen

Source: Aon Hewitt

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