Following the Prospect State of the Industry Review Roundtable in Hong Kong, our team skipped over to Singapore to continue the discussion with 16 Singapore-based industry leaders. The breakfast roundtable was held at 1880 Singapore on Thursday, 23rd February 2023.
Emma Dale hosted the event together with the Prospect team in Singapore: Amanda Lee, Joan Liew, and Florence Evans. While there were some similarities between the discussions in the two markets, there were even more differences. Below are our takeaways and insights from the event.
1. Maintaining employment is paramount
For many employees, recent layoffs and the rising costs of living in Singapore have heightened their desire for continuous employment. This is an important change in attitude from the past few years where many were willing to quit without securing their next job. Nevertheless, one remnant of the pandemic remains, namely the shift in priorities away from work for work’s sake towards time with loved ones and ensuring work has purpose. Hybrid working has become the norm to provide more flexibility between work and life. But its ‘always on’ nature led some attendees to describe the slow death of the nine-to-six working model.
2. Retention efforts are not one-size-fits-all
Engaging employees on an individual basis has become more important than ever, as leaders acknowledge that everyone’s happiness metrics are unique. Roundtable attendees described the effectiveness of a one-on-one approach in bolstering talent retention. Specifically crediting personal attention from leaders, mentorship, and supporting employee-driven training opportunities to maintaining headcount. Additionally, other participants mentioned that employers with a flat workplace structure where everyone has a valued opinion, rarely worry about talent leaving.
3. Will AI change the game?
As AI becomes more prevalent, many employees are questioning the value of strong writing skills. Leaders highlighted the importance of writing for industry practitioners at junior and mid-levels. However, they also acknowledged that as individuals progress up the career ladder, strategic counsel is prioritised over writing skills. Across the board, senior practitioners agree that interacting with clients is a more valuable use of their time than putting pen to paper. Will the adoption of AI alleviate the need for junior and mid-level talent to pass a writing test? Will teams of copywriters become a thing of the past?
4. A new generation are being raised as professionals
The widespread adoption of hybrid working has resulted in a significant reduction in on-the-job training for junior team members. For a generation that has completed university in the virtual sphere, employers are having to step up to teach basic skills such as etiquette in business meetings and team interaction. While quality feedback (one even described it as ‘parenting’) is needed, the time crunch means that this is challenging for leaders to provide on an ongoing basis.
5. Salary insights
Salary bands differ significantly by sector with consumer at the lower end and finance and healthcare towards the top. In-house roles are perceived to pay better, but this is not always the case. In-house and agency employers are continually balancing the salary demands of their teams with business realities. In Singapore, some employees are demanding higher salaries or leaving the market altogether in response to rising inflation and the increased cost-of-living. This situation is set to become more critical as the year progresses.
For more insights, check out the Prospect State of the Industry Review below.