More relocating execs prefer S'pore to HK

PHOTO: More relocating execs prefer S'pore to HK

Singapore has widened its lead over Hong Kong as an attractive place for high-flying professionals to relocate to.

The Republic retained its No. 4 worldwide ranking this year, while Hong Kong slipped to No. 8, from No. 7 last year, according to the findings of a new study released yesterday.

Human-resource experts and business associations told My Paper that Singapore's edge could lie in its metropolitan culture, favourable business policies and economic stability.

The study, by specialist recruitment firm Hydrogen Group, found that the United States remains the choice destination, despite its tough economic climate.

It was followed by Britain and Australia. A total of 2,146 professionals in 90 countries and territories were surveyed in November last year.

On why Singapore was able to widen its lead over Hong Kong, manager of IT commerce division at Robert Walters Singapore, Mr Pri Sandhu, said that Singapore's predominant use of English could be a big draw for expatriates, making the country "an easier place to adapt to".

Singapore's "gracious business policies" - such as easy incorporation for small and medium-sized enterprises and tax benefits - also give it an edge over other territories, said Mr Pri.

Mr Mark Hall, vice-president and country general manager at Kelly Services Singapore, said that "Singapore remains very attractive for many foreigners, particularly as unemployment rates in Europe reach record highs".

Still, Mr Victor Tay, chief operating officer at the Singapore Business Federation, warned that Singapore could face some challenges with rising costs of doing business, and more restrictive foreign-recruitment policies in place.

He said: "To remain competitive, we have to ensure that our policies are still talent-friendly, and build a more-open mindset in accepting expatriates so that they are well-integrated into our social fabric."

Mr David Ang, executive director of Singapore Human Resources Institute, noted that foreign professionals could impart skills and exchange ideas with Singaporeans, even creating more jobs.

In the Hydrogen Group report, Singapore's position as a global hub is further cemented by two accolades: It is No. 2 in its ability to draw global talent from the finance sector, after the US, and is also among the top three global "magnets" for technology professionals, after the US and Britain.

The survey found that 83 per cent of respondents who had relocated said they believed it had accelerated their personal development - 77 per cent said it had benefited their careers and 72 per cent said it had boosted their salaries.

Such was the case for an insurance executive, who wanted to be known only as Peter. He had worked in London for nine years and the move to Singapore four years ago was motivated by opportunities in Asia, which offered better career-growth prospects.

Peter said: "I wanted a chance to be part of something that was growing."

He added that he chose Singapore over Hong Kong because it was "right smack in the middle" and easy to travel from.

OTHER SURVEY FINDINGS

  • Singapore is listed among the top two global finance magnets, after the
    United States. It is also among the top three global technology magnets, after
    the US and Britain.
  • 83 per cent of respondents who had relocated said they believed it had
    accelerated their personal development; 77 per cent said it had benefited their
    careers, and 72 per cent said it had boosted their salaries.
  • 12 per cent thought there really were no barriers to relocating, up from 4 per
    cent last year.
  • Half of all respondents abroad are considering applying for permanent
    residency, while 52 per cent of those surveyed said home was “anywhere in
    the world”

tsjwoo@sph.com.sg


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