Firms at a loss when it comes to attracting digital talent: survey

Eight out of 10 businesses recognise the need for upskilling employees with digital skills.

A new Korn Ferry survey on digital talent has revealed that organisations across Asia have made efforts to advance their digital transformation progress, although most firms admit that they struggled to attract and retain digital talent.

To support their digital transformation initiatives as a result of the pandemic, 86% of respondents in Singapore expected that they would need to upskill employees with digital skills. 89% said they needed to strengthen digital infrastructure, and 71% said they need to recruit digital talent.

However, the survey also found that across the region, companies were unsure of how to attract, engage and retain digital talent with their reward and talent management strategy. While respondents consistently identified compensation and career progression as some of the most important factors to attract, engage and retain digital talent, the survey found that less than half of firms were exploring options outside of existing rewards and benefits policies or talent management programmes.

Singapore’s top challenges when searching for talent are candidate scarcity (89%), inadequate employer branding to attract digital talent (54%) and most notably, the inability to meet a candidate’s reward expectation (81%).

To mitigate candidate scarcity,48% of respondents in Singapore provided higher pay salary for digital talents and around 3 in 10 offered sign-on or hiring bonus. But 39% of respondents in Singapore said that they still only paid in line with their standard pay policy, slightly higher than the average for their Asian counterparts. Interestingly, many were undecided when asked to evaluate the effectiveness of their rewards strategy in attracting, engaging or retaining digital talent

The vice president of client success and delivery services at Korn Ferry Asia-Pacific Mirka Kowalczuk said that there is a fierce ongoing competition between established organisations and start-ups to get the best, scarce digital talents, and Singapore is no exception.

“Companies are getting pushed to look for these digital minds in the technology sector or abroad, further driving the scarcity of talent. At the same time, recruitment for talents externally needs to be supported by internal actions. Companies can start with building programs for current digital talents, which will help to instil a continuous learning culture to help their workforce stay relevant and enhance their employee value proposition that attracts and helps retain digital talents,” Kowalczuk added.

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