Few firms committed to raising leadership skills

PHOTO: Few firms committed to raising leadership skills

DESPITE being aware that effective leadership is key to company growth, few business leaders here appear to be committed to the task of bringing it about, a report released by Randstad yesterday found.

In the survey, some 1,315 Singaporeans working in multinational companies (MNCs) and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) ranked leadership (41 per cent), sales/business development skills (18 per cent) and creative/innovative qualities (19 per cent) as most critical to their organisation.

However, only 8 per cent of Singapore employers rated their current leadership capabilities as excellent and 45 per cent as good.

"This certainly highlights the need for Singapore employers to up their investment in talent management models and future leaders programmes," said Richard Farmer, Randstad's director, Professionals.

The recruitment and human resource services provider also found that almost half of organisations spend 10 per cent or less of their total strategic planning time on future workforce planning, despite the importance of strong human capital in business development.

Over a third of employers do not plan their workforce a year in advance, just over half plan 12 months ahead, and only 10 per cent plan for a two-year period, the report said.

Long-term planning is essential to a company's success and a workforce plan needs to look five to 10 years to the future, Mr Farmer said, adding that such plans are about aligning the workforce to the core of the business and not just financial productivity.

Noting that over 60 per cent of employers see the need to boost middle-management capabilities to improve productivity, Mr Farmer emphasised the importance of training, development and career planning to ensure the loyalty of middle management.

"Over the next few years we will see an evolved work environment where skilled knowledge workers are motivated, empowered and rewarded to lead people, projects and change," he said.

The survey also found that business leaders expect the majority of their workforce to be engaged in skilled knowledge work - work that involves such professionals as project managers, business analysts, engineers, IT specialists, as well as R&D and innovation experts.

In line with this, workers that are expected to be in demand over the next five years include digital engagement professionals to evolve eBusiness models, sustainability specialists and customer coaches to drive customer engagement.

The Randstad World of Work Report, now in its sixth year, was conducted across the Asia-Pacific region, including Malaysia, China, Hong Kong, Australia and New Zealand.

The study was administered via an online questionnaire among employees aged 18-65 and employers in a leadership position with a staff recruitment or human resource management scope in their role.