Technology and AI to lead talent demand drive in 2024

  • 24% currently use AI models to replace routine or administrative tasks.
  • 79% of employees seek new roles for career progression in the next 12 months

Technology and AI to lead talent demand drive in 2024

While the demand for top talent will remain strong across all industries in 2024, the increased use of digital and generative AI in companies, along with a growing focus on sustainability and ESG, will lead companies to aggressively seek talent with expertise to support these functions. As a significant number of surveyed employees consider changing jobs within the next 12 months, companies offering benefits like bonus packages, flexible work arrangements, and health-related support are more likely to attract talent.

There are gaps in perceptions between employers and employees regarding salary, benefits, work-life balance initiatives such as flexible work arrangements, and the concept of a four-day work week. Therefore, to retain talent, companies may find counter-offers effective, with close to one in two employees willing to consider them, especially if salaries are reviewed and career progression opportunities are presented.

Talent transitioning between jobs can expect a pay raise, with increments reaching as high as 10% to 15% in talent-short areas such as tech. The survey also notes that increment will be dependent on the scarcity of the skillsets required. Employees staying with their current companies will see their salaries pegged to market standards.

These are some of the key findings on employees and companies in Singapore, based on specialist professional recruitment firm Robert Walters’ Global Salary Survey 2024, an analysis and benchmark of salary trends.

Looking for a new job, but also open to staying on

The survey reveals that 79% of employees are seeking a new role in the next 12 months, citing the desire for career progression (37%) as the biggest factor. When considering job offers, benefits play a crucial role, with 87% valuing a good bonus scheme, 70% preferring a flexible or remote work arrangement, and 60% prioritizing private healthcare insurance.

Regarding counter-offers, 43% of respondents are willing to consider one, even after accepting a new job offer. The key factors influencing their decision to stay are an increased salary (94%), an opportunity for promotion (50%), and the offer of a retention bonus (46%). Among those who accepted counter-offers in the past, 52% remained with the company for two to three years, while an additional 16% stayed for five years.


Key hiring trends and challenges

As AI, technology, sustainability, and ESG gain prominence in companies, the demand for talent to support these functions will further intensify in 2024. According to the surveyed employers, 24% are currently utilising AI models to replace routine tasks or administrative work, with an additional 33% exploring these implementations in the next 12 months. However, employees are not fully aligned, as 39% express some level of concern about these technological changes in their companies.

While there remains a shortage of top talent across all industries, especially for tech and transformation, top challenges when sourcing for staff include:

  • Salary and benefit expectations perceived to be too high (65%) 
  • Lack of industry experience (53%)
  • Lack of technical qualifications (36%) 

In terms of employee retention, companies are implementing various measures including increased wellbeing initiatives (74%), improved learning and development (66%),  and the adoption of hybrid work policies (68%).

Catching up with changing employee expectations
Due to a shortage of qualified professionals, companies are finding it challenging to hire talent. When asked about areas they would like their employees to prioritise, employees emphasised Work-life Balance initiatives (86%) such as implementing a four-day work week, Well-being related services (37%) including access to counselors, as well as initiatives that support Diversity and Inclusion (35%).

Notably, the survey unveiled differences in expectations regarding work-life balance. While employees expressed a willingness to spend two (25%) to three days (39%) in the office, 47% of surveyed employers expect their staff to be in Technology and AI to lead talent demand drive in 2024the office for at least four to five days each week. Merely 9% of employers are open to considering a 4-day workweek model. 

Monty Sujanani (pic), Country Manager at Robert Walters Singapore, commented on the shifting employee expectations, noting an increased desire for flexible work arrangements and achieving a desired level of work-life balance. He stressed the importance for companies to adopt a proactive and adaptable approach to address the evolving dynamics in the job market.

“From focusing more on employee benefits and wellbeing, communicate a clear career and advancement path to manage employee expectations, and strengthen the company culture to be more inclusive. They should also regularly review compensation benefits to stay competitive and put in place processes to keep employees engaged with open channels of feedback,” Monty said.

2024 industry predictions for Singapore
In 2023, technology advancements, automation, and AI spurred demand for professionals in technology, cybersecurity, data analytics, and software development. Companies also increasingly focused on sustainability and ESG. Hiring practices became more inclusive, with a willingness to hire talent irrespective of their physical location, offering flexible work arrangements, including remote and hybrid options. Diversity and inclusion gained prominence, creating more opportunities for individuals from diverse backgrounds.

Looking ahead to 2024, Digital, Tech, Transformation, and Generative AI will remain central to companies' agendas. Talent with ESG skillsets, particularly in sustainable energy, environmental management, and green tech, will continue to be highly sought after. Key trends influencing hiring decisions include the ongoing demand for flexible work arrangements, the rise of boomerang employees, and an increased focus on hiring contract roles/employees.

Other Singapore highlights of the Salary Survey include:

  • Top industries that are likely to see the highest attrition (Respondents will be looking to change jobs in 2024): Tech & Transformation (93%), Banking & Finance (87%), Supply Chain & Procurement (80%), and Accounting & Finance (80%).
  • Top industries that can expect pay raises in 2024: Tech & Transformation (63%), Supply Chain & Procurement (63%), Sales & Marketing (63%), Human Resources (63%).
  • Top in-demand professions for 2024 are:
    • Accounting & Finance: Finance Business Partners, Corporate Finance, Commercial Analysts
    • Banking & Financial Services: Traders, Portfolio Managers/Research/Investment Analysts, ESG domain roles
    • Human Resources: HR Business Partner, Talent Management/ Talent Acquisition, Office Manager/Executive Assistants
    • Sales & Marketing: CommercialDirectors / Managers, Business Development Managers, Customer Relationship Management and Loyalty Marketing
    • Supply Chain, Procurement & Logistics: Logistics & Distribution, Planners, Procurement / Sourcing
    • Technology & Transformation: Head of Digital or Business Transformation, Software Developers, Cloud & DevOps

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