The talent-short market in Singapore is driving businesses to favour technical knowhow over emotional aptitude in candidates. According to the Hays Asia Salary Guide 2019 three in five (65 per cent) employers are more inclined to hire candidates with hard skills over soft skills, revealing that project management (voted by 56 per cent), statistical analysis and data mining (voted by 47 per cent) and computer skills (voted by 37 per cent) were the top teachable or technical skills in demand, in that order.
By contrast, employers in Singapore are generally least interested in skills such web architecture and development framework (voted by nine per cent), UX or UI design (voted by nine per cent) and programming languages (voted by 11 per cent).
In terms of soft skills, problem solving (voted by 81 per cent), team working (voted by 80 per cent), and verbal communication (voted by 74 per cent) were most coveted by businesses. On the other hand, the psychological and emotional competencies that are at the bottom of employers’ priority lists were negotiation abilities (voted by 25 per cent), time management (voted by 45 per cent) and flexibility (voted by 47 per cent).
Across Asia, three in five (59 per cent) employers deem hard skills more desirable in candidates than soft skills. This is most apparent in Singapore with 65 per cent who say the same. However, respondents in Mainland China placed the least emphasis on hard skills while placing equal importance on soft skills.
The hard skills favoured by employers Asia-wide are project management (voted by 55 per cent), statistical analysis and data mining (voted by 59 per cent), and foreign language fluency (voted by 34 per cent).
When it comes to soft skills, employers in Asia deem problem solving as the most sought-after competency (voted by 75 per cent), followed by team working (voted by 70 per cent) and verbal communication (voted by 63 per cent).
Commenting on the findings, Grant Torrens, regional director of Hays Singapore says: “As industries and roles evolve and expand, the skills in demand are ever changing. Businesses in Singapore have been redefining the technical competencies required to grow and prosper.
“With that in mind, candidates can benefit from staying abreast of industry developments and constantly upskill, or even reskill if needed, to maintain their competitiveness and therefore leverage in the employment market,” he adds. “As for employers, soft skills should continue to be a relevant and important aspect when considering a new hire, as these skills are surely needed to complement even the deepest of knowledge and widest breadths of experience in order for both individuals and businesses to succeed.”