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TMS urges Singapore industry to take action in resolving staffing crisis

With Singapore’s tourism industry facing what potentially represents its worst staffing crisis in recent times, TMS Asia-Pacific (TMS) has called on the sector to take affirmative action in order to…

With Singapore’s tourism industry facing what potentially represents its worst staffing crisis in recent times, TMS Asia-Pacific (TMS) has called on the sector to take affirmative action in order to resolve the situation before it deepens even further.

The recruitment and executive search specialist’s call to action stems from recent comments emerging across all sectors of an industry already bracing itself for further shortages over the next 12 months as competition for personnel intensifies.

This competition is expected to further increase as the organisers of several major international events begin targeting the Lion City in search of bilingual workers.

These events include the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games and the Shanghai World EXPO in 2010.

TMS General Manager – Asia, Andrew Chan, said the time has come for Singapore’s employers to address the challenges, the cornerstone of its approach to be based on a series of progressive HR strategies designed to attract candidates from both traditional and non-traditional sources.

“Singapore’s workforce, along with many other developed nations, is changing rapidly, the population is ageing and within the next five years there will be less people entering the workforce than leaving,” Mr. Chan said.

“But Singapore’s tourism industry continues to boom and careers in tourism offer excellent prospects for young people starting out,” Mr. Chan said.

“Attracting young people into travel industry careers is a really positive first step but the industry can’t just rely on younger people to be its saviour. It also needs to look elsewhere. Baby Boomers represent, potentially, one of the best sources of available candidates for years to come and the ever-growing numbers of women looking to return to the workforce after having children also offer strong possibilities.”

Mr. Chan also underlined the need for organisations to ensure the HR policies they implement are designed to both attract and retain talented personnel as part of the approach.

“It is very important to remember that while the offer of attractive remuneration packages plays a major role in luring candidates, employee retention levels are not driven by salary alone. Well thought out staff retention strategies will be key to attracting and retaining talent in Singapore’s ever intensifying competitive market if organisations truly want to win the ‘war for talent’.”

Mr. Chan said this was particularly pertinent to candidates sourced from the ‘Gen Y’ pool. “It’s interesting to note that with the Gen Y candidate pool, career planning is not just about vertical growth, it’s more about developing a range of marketable skills that the employee can take with them. Gen Y’ers need constant learning and challenges – it’s been said that as soon as you notice that a Gen Y’er is at the 90 per cent level of learning in their role then it is time to offer them new challenges and learning. If you wait until they are 100 per cent competent they will soon get bored and leave and this decision can sometimes be made in a day.”

“How many organisations can cope with that level of change?” Mr. Chan concluded.

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