Top talent trends for 2014

2014 is looking to be a mixed year for HR. On the one hand, Singapore is projecting an upbeat outlook for 2014 with a buoyant job market and healthy hiring expectations. But the new year also poses new challenges. HRM presents some key areas of focus for the year ahead

2014 is looking to be a mixed year for HR. On the one hand, Singapore is projecting an upbeat outlook for 2014 with a buoyant job market and healthy hiring expectations. But the new year also poses new challenges. Here are some key areas of focus for the year ahead:
More crossover roles
According to research by Hays, a big area of growth in 2014 will be crossover roles. As the technology, marketing and finance worlds integrate, it will become key to find people who can move across all sectors, with multilevel knowledge, says Chris Mead, Regional Director of Hays in Singapore & Malaysia.

Danone has been experiencing role crossovers in sectors including supply chain, HR, Operations, and Finance, Soo Peo Goh, Asia-Pacific Learning Manager for Danone Asia says. The company is embarking on two new programmes to help employees make smooth transitions. The business accelerator programme aims to help employees build up their business competences, while another programme focuses on inter-cultural competencies given the complexity and diversity of Asia.

Hybrid roles are also gaining traction at Red Hat. “We are definitely seeing an increasing need for crossover roles. For example, for Red Hat University, our internal training team, we are currently seeking someone who has been successful in sales and then crossed over into development, training, and enablement,” DeLisa Alexander, Executive Vice President and Chief People Officer, Red Hat tells HRM.

Red Hat is developing a job rotational programme to generate more boundary-spanners in its workforce. “It will give Red Hat associates the opportunity to learn, develop, and be challenged by spending time as a contributing member of different teams.
Dependency on foreign workforce will continue
Singapore tightened its immigration policies in 2013 in a bid to reduce public displeasure about the country’s over-reliance on foreign labour. However, given the ongoing skills shortage, Singapore’s dependency on foreign skilled professionals will remain throughout 2014, says Chris Mead of Hays. The Fair Consideration Framework will come into effect from August 1 this year, encouraging companies to move their focus on to “fair” hiring practices and consider local candidates first. Mead feels that where domestic skills shortages exist foreigners will still be needed to fill the gaps.
Reassessing retention strategies
Overall hiring activity is expected to increase in 2014, giving employees more options in the job market. This makes it a good time for companies to revisit their retention strategies to ensure that employees are engaged and not waiting to jump ship. “Employers are often blind to the cause of staff turnover and in 80 per cent of cases an employee chooses to leave due to the job itself, pay and conditions or work relationships – all issues employers can do something about,” says Mead.

Employee retention is an important area of focus for GroupM in 2014. “This is especially more so for entry level talent as we find that youngsters today need to be engaged more deeply to ensure retention,” says Gaurav Hirey, Chief Talent Officer, GroupM South Asia.

GroupM plans to create a new onboarding experience for new joiners and establish a youth executive committee to engage young high achievers so that they are a part of organisational decision making, says Hirey.
Global HR roles
As more companies are recognising the importance of HR, employers are investing in hiring and developing local and Asian talent. “In turn, a number of HR professionals are getting the opportunity to assume positions in the global headquarters of companies as a form of career progression and portfolio extension,” says Joanne Chua, Associate Director of the HR, Supply Chain and Business Support (Permanent) Divisions of Robert Walters.

As multinationals regard Asia as the centre of growth, these Asian professionals have the ability to provide strong and practical local insights as well as knowledge to global management, says Chua. “This creates an excellent opportunity to partner with them and develop growth strategies tailored to Asian cultural practices and business etiquette.”
Integrating technology
Technology will no longer sit in the domain of the chief technology officer, but will instead integrate with both marketing and finance in the new year , says Mead. “This integration of both technology with marketing, and technology with finance, will see staff in these departments become jointly responsible for outcomes. It will create a need for people with multilevel hybrid knowledge.” Marketing and finance professionals will need to enhance their technology skills to remain competitive in the jobs market,” he adds.

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