Panel experts at a recent ACCA Singapore and IIA Singapore roundtable agreed that post-graduate qualifications and niche specialist pathways were seen to be critical in attracting and rooting high-grade talent. In connection with this, it was realised that there is currently a lack of post-graduate qualification and specialist skills educational providers in Singapore. This was one of several key conclusions made by the distinguished panel.
The ACCA Singapore and IIA Singapore report, ‘Talent development in Singapore: Planting the seeds to be a global hub’ consolidated the views of invited participants who explored the linkage between education and talent attraction in light of the Economic Development Board’s (EDB) plan to enable Singapore to become a ‘home for talent’. They also noted Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Teo Chee Hean’s views that the next phase of Singapore’s economic growth will depend critically on knowledge creation, which would in turn depend on cultivating a strong culture of education and continuous learning. He believed that this would also help in attracting foreign talent to our shores.
With Singapore well-known for its high education standards and for positioning itself as an education hub, the panel also felt that there was a need to offer a series of options for post-graduate courses and specialists courses to satisfy the needs of foreign graduates. It was also suggested that post-graduate courses which incorporate an Asian perspective could put Singapore in a better position to compete with European and American universities.
Key findings from the discussion revealed the following:
1. Participants felt that Singapore has a role to play in the global arena. It can add value and compete with Western countries if it had the right strategy.
2. Participants felt that perhaps, to some extent, we may have to accept that talent is intrinsically transient. Strategies for attracting talent may therefore have to use this as a working assumption, particularly for high grade talent. In essence, this underscores the meaning of a ‘hub’.
3. Participants generally agreed that the educational infrastructure plays an important role in attracting, developing and rooting talent in Singapore.
4. More efforts should be made to attract talent at a younger age to allow sufficient time for acculturation and the right conditions for roots to grow. For this purpose, engendering a culture and society which does not alienate Generation Y and Generation Z was seen to be important.
5. More links are required between educational providers and industry. This is to ensure that graduates have the requisite skills and knowledge for industry and that industry participants also contribute to education and professional development.
6. More diverse skill sets are required today due to the rising complexity of the business environment with a multiplicity of niche specializations to cater to the diverse range of needs in industry.
7. It was noted that while graduates were technically proficient, many of them had deficiencies in language skills. This was considered a significant impediment as communication skills were critical in a high value-add services- based economy.
Darryl Wee, Country Head, ACCA Singapore said: “The findings provide useful pointers to Singapore educators on attracting foreign talent through a robust education infrastructure. Moreover, with the accountancy sector poised to grow into a leading global accountancy hub, there will be opportunities for educators to offer niche and specialised courses to meet the growing needs of finance professionals and the industry. ACCA will continue to actively work with top foreign universities to offer post-graduate qualifications to its members.”
Uantchern Loh, President, IIA Singapore added: “The conclusion from the roundtable re-affirms IIA Singapore's commitment to help transform Singapore into a leading accountancy hub for talent. In the re-set world of corporate governance and regulatory compliance, we see a growing demand in the region for highly qualified talents to be Certified Internal Auditors. IIA Singapore is working closely with educators to develop these talents and position Singapore as a global centre for professional development."
The panel included participants from the public practice, executive search services, human resources research and employers. A full report on the roundtable discussion can be downloaded from ACCA’s website.