SINGAPORE : Two in five small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Singapore face challenges in recruiting and retaining talent, due mainly to salary constraints.
According to a survey by the Singapore Institute of Management (SIM), talent management is the top challenge cited by managers across all levels.
About half of the respondents covered in the SIM Management Monitor felt they have not been effective in recruiting and retaining talent and blame the lack of competitive salaries for this.
Nearly all the managers surveyed indicated ’people’ as the most critical factor to ensuring the future growth and vitality of the SME sector in Singapore.
The survey also found that managers are satisfied with their jobs and are positive about career prospects but cautious about the global economy.
The majority, or 74 per cent, are satisfied with their current jobs.
C—suite executives, or the company’s most important senior executives, expressed the most satisfaction — at 84 per cent — compared with mid—level management — at 70 per cent.
Managers in Singapore are more positive about the economy now, compared with 2009 during the global recession when the survey was first done.
In 2012, 45 per cent of the respondents are positive about Singapore’s economic outlook, compared with only 12 per cent in 2009.
However, 40 per cent surveyed this year are ambivalent about the local economy, compared with 27 per cent in 2009.
As for the global economy, 16 per cent expressed optimism, compared with 6 per cent in 2009.
However, the majority still feel negatively about the global economy.
The stronger positive sentiments are reflected in how the managers feel about their jobs.
Wilson Wong, senior lecturer at SIM University’s School of Business, said managers are generally more positive about the Singapore economy, and by extension, their career prospects, as the country’s top three trading partners — Malaysia, China and Indonesia — are still posting robust economic growth.
He warned that the ambivalence about the local and global economies could increase, given that global macroeconomic fundamentals have worsened since the last quarter.
On the productivity front, one in two SMEs supports the government’s call for productivity, but 32 per cent also felt that the government is not doing enough to help them become more productive.
On their own, two in three SMEs have put in place some productivity measures, such as sending more staff for courses, as well as upgrading current equipment and technology.
Those who did not do so cited financial and time constraints.
More than 780 managers based in Singapore were interviewed in the survey between June and July 2012.
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