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Press Release - Hudson Report SG - March 2013

Foo Tun Chuan
O: (65) 6430 5540
M: (65) 9663 5428

Media Release

Media release embargoed until 27 March 2013, 2.30pm


Unlocking high potential talent key to building talent pipeline and driving business performance

SINGAPORE – 27 MARCH 2013 – Hiring expectations in Singapore have fallen slightly this quarter, but remain at a high level on the back of recent positive economic news in China, encouraging many companies to shift their focus to the development of current and future talent, according to the latest Hudson Report: Employment Trends.1

More than four out of 10 employers (43.2%) intend to increase headcount this quarter, and a growing number of employers intend to keep their headcount steady, up 5.4pp to 51.5%, highlighting the high demand for labour and tight-talent market. Business and consumer confidence is also up on this time last year, and is expected to remain reasonably stable throughout 2013.2

The industries with the strongest intentions to hire are Manufacturing & Industrial, IT&T and Banking & Financial Services. A rebound in the Manufacturing & Industrial sector has been particularly influenced by recovery in the global and Chinese manufacturing market.3

“Whilst the global economy looks set to stay sluggish, China’s economy is beginning to regain confidence,4 having positive flow-on effects for the Singapore economy and job market,” said Andrew Tomich, Executive General Manager, Hudson Singapore.

“At a government level, Singapore is serious about developing its resident workforce and most employers are now adopting Singaporean-first policies when recruiting, and the quota for foreign workers is set to decline.5 When it comes to hiring, employers are thinking local, local, local, however increasing restrictions on the available workforce are creating a shortage of suitable candidates in an already tight market.”

The Report also looks at organisational use of High Potential Programs to build employee capability, retain key talent and drive strong business outcomes. Over three-quarters of all employers (76.8%) currently have such programs in place, and this reflects businesses recognising that they need to invest in retaining talent.

“Smart employers know the market will regain strength again at some point6, and this will result in greater demand and competition for talent assets,” said Tomich. “Being able to hold onto talent, and accelerate their growth, will enable them to ride the wave of growth as and when it arrives.”

“Singapore employers have long faced talent shortages so it is now more important than ever to reframe their approach to talent management – re-evaluating the skills and capabilities required within their teams – and build a talent pipeline that will assist in mitigating current and future talent shortages.”

“As a result, we’re seeing a higher incidence of employers using High Potential Programs to boost engagement and retain staff, which is key to driving efficiency, productivity and minimising business disruption.”

Organisations’ biggest challenge is identifying talent. ‘High potential’ is not the same as ‘high performance’ although there is some overlap – 93% of all high potentials are also high performers, yet only 29% of high performers have high potential.7 This clearly highlights that being focused on high performance alone will deliver short-term results, but poses risk in the longer term.

“Identifying talent with high potential isn’t easy,” added Tomich. “Employees must be judged on their potential ability to perform a task they have never done before. In today’s risk-adverse environment this can be challenging, but it is necessary to protect the longer-term talent pipeline of the organisation.”

Hudson has identified four main indicators of high potential: the ability to manage complexity and change; and mental efficiency and cognitive ability; personal drive; and relational and cultural sensitivity. Cognitive ability is the principal indicator across all levels, yet employers in Singapore are using prior performance (93.4%), attitude (77.2%) and career aspirations (60.3%) to evaluate High Potential. This suggests there is still some confusion around identifying High Potential and that some employers may be missing out on recognising some employees.

Hudson suggests using tools such as behavioural and psychometric testing, cognitive ability tests and observation at assessment and development centres to aid this.

To maximise effectiveness, High Potential Programs need to be consistent, sustained and with a clear purpose. The value of the program can then be evaluated against agreed objectives that may include retaining key staff, filling roles internally, filling roles quickly, and higher performance from high potential employees. Common elements of effective programs are high touch, individual customisation and mentoring, coaching and exposure to new experiences.

“Often organisations grapple about whether a High Potential Program should be visible as they fear a negative effect on engagement and morale on employees not involved,” said Tomich. “Hudson believes that articulating the program purpose clearly, having transparent objectives, and allowing all employees to apply to be involved off-sets these risks.”

Ultimately, HR and recruitment practices must be continuously assessed to ensure organisations are able to retain the key talent and capability necessary to drive business outcomes and success. Talent shortages are a long-term feature of the Singapore employment market and employers should act now to safeguard current and future business performance.

- ENDS -

Editor's Note

Please contact us for more information, print-ready graphs or to arrange an interview.

Hudson has changed its reporting to achieve greater transparency and consistency across markets. This makes it simpler to compare results and geographical variations. From now on, Hudson will report on three findings: the percentage of employers intending to increase staffing levels, those intending to maintain them and those intending to decrease headcount. 'Intention to hire' refers to the proportion of employers intending to hire more employees during the forthcoming quarter. Hudson will no longer use the 'net effect' figure.

About Hudson

Hudson is a global talent solutions company with expertise in leadership and specialised recruitment, contracting solutions, recruitment process outsourcing, talent management, outplacement and eDiscovery. We help our clients and candidates succeed by leveraging our expertise, deep industry and market knowledge, and proprietary assessment tools and techniques. With more than 2,000 people in 20 countries, and relationships with millions of specialised professionals, we bring an unparalleled ability to match talent with opportunities by assessing, recruiting, developing and engaging the best and brightest people for our clients. We combine broad geographic presence, world-class talent solutions and a tailored, consultative approach to help businesses and professionals achieve higher performance and outstanding results. More information is available at

Forward-Looking Statements

This press release contains statements that the company believes to be "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. All statements other than statements of historical fact included in this press release, including statements regarding the company's future financial condition, results of operations, business operations and business prospects, are forward-looking statements. Words such as “anticipate,” “estimate,” “expect,” “project,” “intend,” “plan,” “predict,” “believe” and similar words, expressions and variations of these words and expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. All forward-looking statements are subject to important factors, risks, uncertainties and assumptions, including industry and economic conditions' that could cause actual results to differ materially from those described in the forward-looking statements. Such factors, risks, uncertainties and assumptions include, but are not limited to, global economic fluctuations; risks related to fluctuations in the company's operating results from quarter to quarter; the ability of clients to terminate their relationship with the company at any time; competition in the company's markets; risks associated with the company's investment strategy; risks related to international operations, including foreign currency fluctuations; the company's ability to implement cost reduction initiatives effectively, including the recently announced restructuring programme; the company's dependence on key management personnel; the company's ability to attract and retain highly skilled professionals; risks in collecting the company's accounts receivable; the negative cash flows and operating losses that the company has experienced from time to time in the past may reoccur in the future; restrictions on the company's operating flexibility due to the terms of its credit facilities; the company's heavy reliance on information systems and the impact of potentially losing or failing to develop technology; risks related to our dependence on uninterrupted service to clients; the company's exposure to employment-related claims from both clients and employers and limits on related insurance coverage; volatility of the company's stock price; the impact of government regulations; and restrictions imposed by blocking arrangements. Additional information concerning these and other factors is contained in the company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. These forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of this document. The company assumes no obligation, and expressly disclaims any obligation, to update any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

1 Hudson surveyed 324 Singapore employers about their hiring intentions April to June 2013
2 Bleak outlook for Singapore firms in Q1: D&B, Asia One, 23 January 2013
3 Singapore manufacturing PMI rises in Jan after string of contractions, Reuters 4 February 2013
4,6 China’s GDP Projected to Grow 8.4 Percent in 2013,, 31 January 2013
5 A sustainable population for a dynamic Singapore: Population White Paper, January 2013
7 Hudson – Critical Thinking: High Potentials, Facts and Fiction, Dec 2007
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Hudson is a global talent solutions company. We help transform the workplace and unleash the full potential of organizations and individuals. Our expert team and proprietary tools provide you with unique insights and services that help you maximize your success. Across 20 countries, we deliver a range of recruitment, talent management and recruitment process outsourcing solutions to get you and your business where you want to be.

Hudson Global Resources (Singapore) Pte Ltd
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