Is a higher pay enough to attract overseas Singaporean professionals home?

Is a higher pay enough to attract overseas Singaporean professionals home?

SINGAPORE - Homecoming for overseas Singaporeans can be a sweeter affair if salary increment is on the cards.

Of the 212,500 Singaporean professionals working overseas, 82 per cent of them are interested to return home for work, but not without expectations for a higher salary.

According to the latest whitepaper 'Return of the Asian Talent' from recruitment firm Robert Walters, these 82 per cent are keen on seeking employment within the banking and financial services, information technology and sales & marketing sectors.

Amidst the economic slowdown, hiring managers are looking to overcome the talent shortage by reaching out to overseas local professionals. Returning Asians have both a global mindset as well as a familiar understanding with local culture to assimilate seamlessly into the workforce.

With demand on the rise, job prospects for these overseas professionals seem positive.

But as job security goes, 80 per cent of overseas Asian professionals said that they will not return before having secured a job back home.

This means that hiring managers must be prepared to negotiate salary increments. According to the report, about 35 per cent of overseas Asian respondents said they expect an increment of more than 20 per cent. Only a meagre 10 per cent would settle for a five to 10 per cent raise.

Having been stationed overseas for a considerable amount of time, overseas professionals surveyed revealed that the top three factors they look for in an employment package are a salary increment over local rates, clear career progression and flexible working arrangements.

The top three reasons why they will consider returning home are to care for ageing parents, the perceived ability to command higher pay and the affinity with their cultures back home.

While salary increment may be the largest pull factor, the whitepaper also advises hiring managers to go beyond the standard employment contract should they wish to attract and subsequently retain returning Asians.

Offers such as paying for the shipping of items back home, assisting with accommodation options and allowing for time off in the first few weeks of settling in to manage domestic affairs will give local employers an edge in competitiveness.

debwong@sph.com.sg

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