ONE Pass: A potential solution to Singapore’s leadership talent challenges

By Akshay Mendon

Singapore unveiled a new long-term work visa in late 2022. Singapore's ONE Pass is targeted towards attracting specific senior-level talent — those with regular monthly salaries of at least S$30,000 ($US21,128). The extended 5-year duration of the ONE Pass will also be an excellent way for individuals and businesses to consider Singapore as a long-term option. 

While tech continues to dominate the headlines in Singapore and globally, there are a few sectors in Singapore that have been experiencing massive growth. 

Much of this growth transformation has come over the last three years and has resulted in huge demand for senior-level talent (C-level, vice presidents, general managers) across multiple job functions. 

For companies in these sectors, the ONE Pass is a timely intervention to attract best-in-class senior talent to the local market.

Green is the colour of the season 

The renewable energy sector has seen the most movement in the last two years with increasing dialogue around climate and energy transition globally. The downturn in the tech world has also meant growing interest from investors in this segment. 

Several renewable energy platforms and independent power producers investing in wind and solar projects are ramping up their presence in the region. 

Such platforms use Singapore as the control centre where the senior management is based, managing project launches across several ASEAN countries and Australia & New Zealand. 

On the flip side, Singapore’s push for renewables with the Green Plan 2030, has spurred large local organisations operating in the areas of energy and infrastructure development to explore opportunities around sustainability and green hydrogen sourcing. 

The sequence of events has resulted in high demand for senior professionals in the areas of green finance, investments, risk, legal, policy and partnerships, amongst others. 

Organisations in the space are looking to hire CEOs, chief investment officers, legal counsels, chief risk officers, and policy leads who can help them navigate dealmaking in a complex regulatory and project financing landscape. 

Mid-cap supply chain matters

Supply chain strategies have been turned on its head over the last three years, with the problem most acute within Mid-Cap companies across sectors.

Lacking a diversified supply chain framework as compared to their large-cap peers, mid-caps have always largely depended on a centralised strategy - reliant on manufacturing close to the HQ or a facility in China to supply. 

China’s zero-COVID policy coupled with inflation and geopolitical issues has only worsened regional supply chain challenges. These developments have prompted several mid-caps to embark on a near-shoring strategy with several companies setting up regional supply chain hubs in Singapore over the last year. 

This development has opened a fresh demand for senior talent within the supply chain and manufacturing. 

Several mid-cap organisations within medical devices, industrial automation and food manufacturing segments are looking for chief operating officers and chief supply chain officers who can help plug the gap. This being uncharted territory for most mid-caps, the need is for senior supply chain talent with the ability to create a regional playbook and drive results.

Regional hub reimagined

Singapore’s growing role as an international arbitration centre has meant a huge influx of Family Offices, choosing to set up base here. In addition, the country is becoming increasingly important as a hub for regulatory innovation in the region.

There have been numerous regulatory sandboxes across high-growth sectors such as Healthcare, Fintech and now Renewable Energy being tested in the country before launching in other regional markets. A host of private equity, strategy consulting, public policy, and legal firms have well supported this eco-system. 

The surge in family offices has meant demand for capable chief investment officers, legal counsel and CFOs. 

Healthcare and fintech companies are looking to hire public policy leads, legal counsels, business development and customer experience heads as these companies look to strengthen their presence in the region. The last few years have seen senior talent in these functional areas move from Europe, the UK, and Australia, making Singapore their base. 

Change being the only constant in Singapore’s talent ecosystem

A clear theme appears when we analyse these trends – the surge and demand for talent in the above sectors have emerged in the last 24 to 36 months. 

Change has been a constant feature of Singapore’s business ecosystem, with phases of evolution every 5 years. This means it is impossible for the country’s existing talent pool to completely satisfy the needs of the market. There is a need to continually plan and attract the best-in-class talent in certain categories for Singapore to maintain its edge as a regional hub. 

The ONE Pass signals a concerted effort the island nation is making for its next stage of evolution – one where it strengthens its positioning as a strategic hub for international arbitration, energy transition, IP, finance, and healthcare. Exciting times are ahead. 

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