SINGAPORE - Worse is yet to come for employers already feeling the pain of tighter foreign-worker rules, as the work pass for foreign workers will be shortened from five to three years and eligibility criteria toughened from January.
"Companies who contravene the laws can be prosecuted, fined or barred from hiring foreign workers," warned recruitment consultancy Hays Group yesterday as it predicted the top 10 talent trends for next year.
To soothe rising local discontent over the influx of foreign workers, the government has taken steps this year to slow the inflow of these workers, it noted.
New rules make it harder for "top-tier" foreign workers, who make up a third of the workforce, to get the necessary approval to work.
With greater restrictions on the recruitment of foreign workers, Hays sees the war for talent intensifying, especially in the manufacturing, oil & gas, information technology, accountancy, sales and marketing and the services sectors, where the skills shortage is acute.
Such shortfalls could cripple financial services and diminish Singapore's attraction as a financial hub, it warned. And as job-hopping becomes more rampant, staff retention will be a priority.
"Skill shortages and restrictions on hiring from overseas make it harder to replace those who move jobs," it said.
"Using a range of strategies to retain staff will be vital in 2013."
A more subdued outlook for the economy, given worries over the "fiscal cliff" in the United States and the eurozone debt crisis, will prolong labour pains in key sectors.
Employers can do something about this.