Singapore: Is Work Life Balance Possible?

Technology is great, that is undeniable. It has revolutionized the way we talk and communicate, covering every aspect of our lives, including work. Everyone is reachable via their mobile phones… too reachable, in fact. Helicopter parents hover over their children’s soldiers digitally, calling every hour or so, demanding to know their whereabouts. A call at 3am is either an inconsiderate friend, a fellow night owl, or an emergency. But a call from work? After work hours? That is just tiresome, but also a reality that many of us in the developed world have learned to grudgingly accept.

Which is why everyone is both envious and surprised whenever they find out about France’s “right to disconnect” law, a law that ensures an employee’s rights to not be contacted for work-related issues after work hours. This law draws a hard boundary between work hours and personal hours, a boundary that is even further eroded during pandemic times, where the days and hours just seemingly blend together. For Singaporeans, the erosion of this boundary sours whatever benefits working from home may offer.

As of late, Tripartite partners Ministry of Manpower (MOM), National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) and Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF) have come up with several measures to boost work-life harmony within Singapore’s workplace culture. 

Employers now have access to a website with several resources to aid them carry out appropriate measures, as well as an online tool to identify workplace stressors. There is also funding from various programs available for companies wishing to do so.

However,  these moves do not seem to be quite enough, for an imbalance between work life and personal time goes beyond stressors in company culture. For instance, in order to save costs, an employee may be unfairly saddled with more work than they can handle, as compared to hiring yet another person. Of course, there are also issues such as annoying coworkers who do not respect personal space, or a clash in personalities in the office. Still, those issues could be forgotten as soon as one is out of the office, but what if one keeps continuing because of the heavy workload? Burnout and fatigue is knocking on the door.

Which is why companies should consider alternative solutions for their hiring needs. It is understandable that pockets for certain industries are tight during this pandemic, and that work from home makes it too easy to disproportionately distribute workload, but that does not mean things could not be better. What if,  by expanding the mind overseas to be open to wilder possibilities, everyone gets a chance at better work-life balance?

For companies in Singapore, offshoring tech hiring needs to Malaysia may be a win-win solution both for the wallet and the poor employees shouldering such heavy workloads. With lesser work to do, the employee may finally make it out of the office by sunset, hence improving work-life balance. With improved work-life balance comes benefits which include increased overall productivity, greater retention in job, and increased shareholder values too. All in all, perhaps offshoring may be an underrated solution. 

Sources:

https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/tripartite-partners-strengthen-measures-to-improve-work-life-harmony-in-singapore

https://www.mom.gov.sg/employment-practices/good-work-practices/work-life-strategies

How the Pandemic Has Reshaped Hong Kong’s Businesses

Once a bustling spot for tourists from the mainland, the pandemic as well as subsequent measures means that Hong Kong luxury retail has lost a significant portion of consumers — tourists from the mainland.

However, businesses have to make a living after all, and so outlets belonging to Luk Fook Holdings and Chow Tai Fook Jewellery, both rivals in the same industry of selling jewels, have turned their eyes on local consumers, pushing out benefits and discounts to locals. Luk Fook Holdings is even working with a local e-commerce platform to set up its own shopping website.

For other industries such as F&B, the increase in domestic consumers due to relaxation of policies since February means that life goes on as usual for them.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong is still pushing full-steam ahead with the goal of becoming one of the next R&D giants in Asia… or at least, there are signs of it hoping to be. Hong Kong is actively recruiting tech talents across the world, through the Technology Talent Admission Scheme (TechTAS). This scheme allows companies to employ tech talents across the sea, going beyond borders to find the best tech talents suited for the company. The mainland government has also set aside funds especially for researchers based in Hong Kong universities. 

It’s clear that beyond stagnating as a retail heaven, Hong Kong is now pushing forward as a formidable force in the field of technology too. 

Reference:

https://www.straitstimes.com/asia/east-asia/chinese-tourists-disappearance-is-remaking-hong-kong-retail

https://www.itc.gov.hk/en/fund_app/techtas/about_techtas.html

Malaysia: the Next Competitor for FinTech?

Starting from 2022, Malaysia’s central bank will start issuing licenses for digital banking, hence joining the rankings which include Singapore and Hong Kong.

Ever since the pandemic started, there has been an increasing need for the digitalization of all sorts of acts that were previously more popular offline, with going to the bank as being one of them. However, the confinement to one’s housing does not stop the need to have to deal with the bank every once in a while, and visiting brick and mortar places may present a threat to health.

Hence, with Malaysia’s central bank issuing the first digital banking licenses from 2022 onwards, it is expected that more and more banks would be joining the crew too, kickstarting the Fintech landscape in Malaysia.

As of now, Malaysia is competitive in technology, as it accounts for 13% of global chip packaging and testing, and 7% of the world’s semiconductor trade passes through the country, with some value addition done via additional processing. With the rise of digital banking, Malaysia would have yet another item to add to its repertoire. 

The rise is expected to uplift associated services, such as e-wallets, additional payment avenues, online shopping and more. This could also mean a rise in jobs requiring relevant skill sets, such as software development and more. Overall, the start of Malaysia’s digital banking next year spells good news for both businesses and the common people.

References:

www.aseanbriefing.com/news/digital-banking-in-malaysia-new-opportunities-for-fintech/

https://www.reuters.com/technology/taiwan-says-resolving-chip-shortages-needs-malaysias-help-2021-10-01/

China: Alternate Job Recruitment Sites?

Linkedin just announced that it would be shutting down its operations in China today — or at least, it’s going to come back in the form of Injobs, a vastly reduced form solely for job search and recruitment, lacking the social media aspect such as the posting of articles and sharing of content.

However, the hiring grind simply doesn’t stop, and there are still plenty more ways to look for talents in China and hire them — there are plenty of job search avenues for Chinese talents too. Here are some of them.

  1. Zhaopin.com

Founded in 1994, Zhaopin.com is one of China’s oldest job recruitment sites, and one of the most popular too. You can never go wrong with this site.

  1. 51job.com

51job.com’s bright orange interface can never be missed. Starting from 1998, it is now serving millions of job seekers and recruiters.

  1. 58.com

If you are hiring from outside, the smart website automatically adjusts to the location you are hiring from. It is also one of the top job searching and recruiting sites for Chinese people.

Hang on, you might ask. They are all in Chinese, wouldn’t that make it impossible for people who don’t know Chinese to navigate? Shouldn’t I be including English sites?

For starters, a majority of the English sites for jobs in China largely cater to foreigners/expats seeking a job there. For employers aiming to hire from China, some of those might not be the ideal choice, now that Linkedin is gone.

This is where our recruitment solutions come into play. Link Compliance’s curated pool of candidates allows recruiters seeking to hire in China exclusive access to candidates of higher quality than the market average. Our on-site team, well-versed and bilingual in English and Chinese, would be able to find you the best available candidate. If you are a job seeker trying to find the best available jobs in China, especially in the retail, biotechnology, IT and finance sector, our doors are more than wide open. Just enter our site, and get in contact with us.

No legal entity in China but you want to hire staff from there? You can consider our Professional Employment Organisation (PEO) services. We will help you hire employees in China under our name, but you get to do all the decision making and have full control over the employee.

In short, although China has its own job search and recruitment sites, for recruiters based out of China, our recruitment solutions and PEO services would be more than enough to service your needs, even before LinkedIn is gone in China.

Dip in Singapore’s Unemployment Rate

The unemployment rate for Singapore saw a dip from 2.8% to 2.7% in August, despite the flip-flopping COVID-19 measures. 
 

This is a sign that the economy is indeed recovering, albeit gradually. 

Even with the uptick of COVID-19 cases, Singaporeans are still keeping their jobs, and these numbers fluctuate mainly due to layoffs of temporary staff and workers. 
 

As Singapore gradually moves towards endemic living, unemployment rates should also stabilise in general. 
 

However, the Minister of Manpower said to expect recovery to be uneven across sectors, as each sector is affected by the pandemic differently. Dining-in restrictions certainly hit the Food & Beverage industry the most. 
 

As of August, there were 84 400 unemployed residents, and 75 800 were citizens. 

Safe to say, the labour force is heading towards an OK direction for now. 

References:

https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/government-economy/singapore-unemployment-rate-dips-to-27-in-august-after-brief-uptick-in-july-mom

Be Smart Like Sam.

You are Sam. You have a successful tech/finance/bioscience/retail company going on, but competition is tight over here. The domestic market is a slice of pie that everyone wants to get, but maybe you had your fill and feel like you can fight for a different slice of pie instead. Your heart is starting to itch for a something more. 

Maybe one day you are on the way home from a long tiring day at work, or maybe you simply took a glance at the world map. Suddenly it’s like a light bulb lit up on your head — why not expand overseas? There is always a niche for foreign products. You hold the patent in your hands, and you tremble in excitement at the very thought. 

Well… there is one issue, however. The country you are thinking about is China, and you cannot speak Chinese even if you tried with all your might. You don’t know anyone there, or anything really, other than the fact that your product might sell like hotcakes over there. 

So you start researching. Having to be in there in person to get a corporate bank account registered. The 31242 regulations you have to follow, all mostly in Chinese. What do you mean that laws are carried out differently depending on the region? What do you mean that employees are entitled to different number of days for maternity leave? All labor contracts have to be in Chinese? You have a feeling that by the time you get over the language barrier and set everything up, your time might have been better spent elsewhere instead. 2 years is no joke.

You feel yourself blacking out. This is honestly too difficult, maybe it’s not worth it at all…. And that is where we stop you. 

“Check out our Professional Employment Organization (PEO) services,” we say to you. 

So you click into our website. You read, and you feel hope swell up in you again — what do you mean you can set up a company overseas, over in China, without having to set up a legal entity yourself? 

We smile and present to you our existing infrastructure. Our existing on-site teams are more than prepared to help you hire Chinese employees on your behalf. We can help you payroll and manage your employees too, exchange rates and international bank transfers begone! You still get to directly manage your employee; except they are hired under our name. We are just a medium for your business to expand through, that’s all. 

This is all sounding too good to be true, and the fact that we do this without needing set-up costs and as well as asking for some of the lowest monthly fees in the market sounds like a dream coming true for your wallet. 

So you get into contact with us, and within two days, you essentially have a whole company overseas, ready to go in action. You go to sleep with a smile on your face. 

Be Smart, be like Sam. Check out our PEO services and unlock infinite opportunities today.  

Singapore: The Trick to Attract More Customers to Your Business

Look around you. What do you have with you? A wallet? A pen? Maybe a bottle of hand sanitizer? Oh, but maybe you don’t need a wallet anymore, the e-wallet and various avenues of payments are all available on your phone. That pen is starting to look a little unnecessary too, other than for leaving some last-minute notes, there is nothing you cannot say over the internet. You still need that bottle of hand sanitizer, though.  #Staysafe. But what I’m trying to talk about here is perhaps the very thing you might be reading this on — that’s right, a mobile phone. Sure, you might be reading this on a much larger screen, but your phone is not going to be too far away from you either. 

It’s safe to say that in sufficiently developed countries, our lives are inseparable from the mobile phone. It holds our access to the internet, the wealth of knowledge, our access to loved ones, and money too. It is such an integral part of life that any business worth its salt should be reaching out to customers via the mobile phone. Simply getting your (potential) customers to download an app unlocks unless potential — for instance, you can deliver goods and services in a more efficient manner, in a way that reaches the customer more directly than an email going straight into the spam folder, and you can make an impression on the customer base as well. 

Here are more of the things you can do with a unique mobile app for your brand: 

Offer exclusive discounts. People are more than happy to let an app eat up a few more megabytes of their phone storage if they can get that exclusive 40% discount on that product. It has already been proven and tested with the explosion of e-commerce in China; giants such as Taobao are known for having cheaper prices on the mobile app than on desktop, and this shows in the massive profits they make on mobile as compared to desktop. People value convenience, and what could be more convenient than a mobile phone they carry around all the time? Some shopping platforms like Weidian are even mobile only, and are still making massive profits.  

Reward programs. A way to retain customers and to get them to use your brand again and again is to have a robust reward program in the mobile app, where its constant presence is a reminder for them to utilize the app more often. 

Be useful. Beyond fixing bugs, updates should always enhance the user’s experience. Your app can go beyond exclusive discounts and reward programs, it can also offer updates for the latest upcoming products. It can also serve as a direct channel of communication from you to the customer, and more importantly, from the customer to you. 

All of these are starting to sound a little tough. You might be scratching your head, thinking to yourself that it’s easier said than done. You might not have the tech talent nor the resources on board to devote an entire team to develop an app, and there are way too many examples of business apps that failed, on the basis of being too poorly made and not attracting customers. “Cheap and fast and good” have always been known as a pick maximum two situation, but what if we tell you that we can accomplish all three for you? 

Look no further than our LinkTheCoder services, our bridge from Malaysian tech talents to the Singapore market. Often bilingual or even trilingual, these Malaysian tech talents are often an underrated option when it comes to offshoring. Our proximity as neighbors will ensure smoother communication, so your needs and wants for the app will be met accurately. Remote working in both countries ensures work gets done quickly, and not to mention the way offshoring saves costs, especially if you do not have the resources required for a full local team at the moment.  

So, what are you waiting for? Visit LinkTheCoder’s site, meet one of our Zacks, and revolutionize your business with the perfect app today. 

Hire for ‘experience’? Or hire for ‘potential’? 

Uncertainties always exist in the workplace, and one of the biggest uncertainties is whether the candidate you just hired will prove to be a quality candidate. This uncertainty is not only a time-consuming affair, but it can be extremely costly as well. According to the CEO of Zappo, Tony Hsieh, the cost of bad hiring cost his organization “well over $100 million”.  

Of course, that is a frightening amount upfront, but more often than not these costs of bad hiring are an accumulation of non-direct costs: loss in productivity, damaged reputation with clients, higher recruitment costs and opportunity costs et cetera.  

So, what does it mean by hiring based on credentials and hiring for ‘potential’?  

Hiring for ‘experience’ 

Hiring based on credentials is simply hiring based off a qualifications ‘checklist’, where candidates must have the necessary skillsets before being considered. This is the traditional hiring strategy where experience supersedes other consideration factors. For companies who have roles that are more technical, it is common to employ this method of hiring to seek for candidates who possess a necessary skillset. Most companies also have the preference that their candidates can “hit the ground running”. Understandably, hiring is an uncertainty, and possessing experience can be an indicator of lesser time spent for the new candidate to reach full productivity.  

Hiring for ‘potential’ 

For hiring based on ‘potential’, we are looking at assessing other qualities beyond their qualifications. This could be looking at attitudes, growth mindsets or culture fit, and hiring them based on their potential to do well in the company, even though they may be lacking in some requirements at the point of hire. In a way, this is a progressive and forward-looking strategy as compared to hiring strictly based on experience. Companies who hire for ‘potential’ believe that if they invest the right support and training to help these candidates grow, they will not only be skilled and resourceful, but loyal and motivated as well. 

In a report by Robert Walters, a significant 94% of candidates hired for ‘potential’ instead of their qualifications, have been retained in their jobs. Despite that, many hiring managers across Asia are still reluctant to shift their gears towards hiring for ‘potential’. Nearly 1 in 10 were not keen to consider hiring for ‘potential’.  

Within the Singapore landscape, we hear about jobs with a long list of requirements demanding years of experience for an entry-level job. As the number of fresh graduates continues to increase year on year, it might be wise for employers to start considering hiring for ‘potential’ to give a fairer chance to this potential talent pool. In essence, identifying a quality candidate will always be a challenge, but having your own process and prioritizing traits you want to see in a candidate can prove to be more beneficial than following the pack. 

If your company is struggling with recruiting the right people, Link Compliance can help. We help connect companies to our talent pool in 4 big sectors – Retail and Luxury, IT and Technology, Medical and Biotechnology, as well as Banking and Finance. To know more about our recruitment services, head to our recruitment solutions page today. 

Articles referenced: 

https://www.hcamag.com/asia/news/general/1-in-2-hiring-managers-in-asia-reluctant-to-evolve-their-strategies/190385

https://www.hcamag.com/ca/specialization/hr-technology/how-to-measure-the-true-cost-of-a-bad-hire/160744

Malaysia: A Step Forward?

As of July 2021, the unemployment rate in Malaysia has remained at 4.8%, although there is a slight increase in the rise of unemployed persons.

This is despite political havoc and the worsening pandemic situation at one point.

Eight states in Malaysia have already moved into phase 2 of the National Recovery Plan (NRP), which will see more regular economic and business activity, provided that they act according to standard protocols. 

Still, 52% of the labour force are stuck in phase 1.

2021 unemployment rates are estimated to be 4.5% to as high as 5%, according to various sources. Recovery would likely be slow, as there is still much uncertainty ahead.

Meanwhile, the prime minister has recently announced that offices with fully vaccinated staff and employers are allowed to operate with full capacity again. Opening hours are also extended for supermarkets, smaller markets, restaurants, petrol stations and convenience stores, and recreation places such as spas and wellness centres are allowed to open once more.

Articles referenced:

https://www.thesundaily.my/business/malaysia-s-july-unemployment-rate-remains-at-48-ED8317024

https://www.pmo.gov.my/2021/09/kenyataan-media-berkaitan-pengumuman-pembukaan-sektor-dan-peralihan-fasa/

Not All Sectors Come Out Stronger From the Pandemic — Here’s Some That Do.

The COVID-19 pandemic, still on-going, is undoubtedly life-changing for many of us. It has affected the way we live, the way we think, the way we move, and more crucially, the way we work. Specifically, it has caused many people to lose their jobs — or for many others, it opened up new windows of opportunities instead. Here are some sectors and forms of work that have survived and are still thriving through the pandemic.

  1. E-commerce.

The world outside is dangerous. Stay a little longer and you might get infected with COVID-19 — a true danger when the vaccine isn’t out yet. All that is protecting you are safe-distancing rules and a thin piece of cloth-fabric shielding your orifices. You want to get some new clothes, but the clothing shops are closed because they are deemed as non-essential from where you live. You would like to buy detergent too, but stepping outside is no different from gambling with your life — that’s where online shopping comes in.

In countries like Singapore where a common past-time is going out into the streets to shop, nearly 75% of Singaporean consumers have turned to online shopping due to the pandemic. 31% made their first online purchase — the start of many in the future — during the pandemic. At least 20% will continue the habit of online shopping even after the pandemic. In China, where sales events like 11.11 have generated billions of revenue even pre-pandemic, the effects of the pandemic on online shopping are ever more so obvious in the dramatic increase in sales from the previous year.

Consumer habits have been changed, and the crisis has accelerated conversion to online shopping, and the e-commerce sector is expected to continue to boom, precisely because of the pandemic. Hence more job openings in e-commerce giants, in areas such as logistics, or even HR. 

  1. (Food) Delivery Services 

Queuing for good food may have been a passion for many, but with the pandemic, most of us have turned to queuing from home instead. We take our phones out, place an order from a desired eatery, and wait for the food to come to us instead. Platforms like Grabfood (Singapore) and Meituan (China) have reported a spike in sales during the pandemic, and restaurants reported receiving more sales conducted via online orders in return.

Beyond providing work for people in need of a temporary gig for some quick income, the very platform that these sales are conducted from have benefited as a result. The platforms have reported a growth in their Gross Merchandise Value (GMV) and operations have expanded as a result. At least, they are not making as big a loss as before.

  1. Biotechnology

A jab in the arm means massively reduced chances of dying from COVID-19, if infected by chance. Names like “Moderna” and “Pfizer” have become household names by now. Securing vaccines has become the priority of many governments, but it is private companies who are the ones behind R&D and creation of vaccines instead.

China, for instance, has pushed for more focus on its biotech sector, with 141 biotech companies opening from 2010-2020, and market capitalization increasing. More jobs are created in biotech sectors throughout the world too, as countries seek to also find their own ways to protect their citizens. 

Articles referenced:

Overall, the above are just three that have clearly reaped benefits from the pandemic. Other sectors such as IT may be less affected, or more well adjusted to conditions such as remote working. If you are thinking about your next job opportunity, you can consider these industries, even though you may not necessarily have a relevant degree; some jobs are universal, such as the need for marketing in order to get sales out. Alternatively, if you are a biotech talent and are interested in your next job, or you are looking for the right biotech talent, you can consider our recruitment solutions.

https://www.channelnewsasia.com/commentary/food-delivery-apps-grabfood-foodpanda-deliveroo-restaurants-1367326

https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/banking-finance/one-third-of-singaporeans-made-first-online-purchase-amid-covid-19-measures-poll

https://www.channelnewsasia.com/business/retail-sales-rise-79-7-may-2021-store-closures-circuit-breaker-1991866

https://www.wsj.com/articles/biotech-is-on-a-hiring-binge-but-lags-on-diversity-11632396600

https://www.cnbc.com/2020/08/24/china-e-commerce-boosted-by-shift-to-online-shopping-after-coronavirus.html

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/11/11/alibaba-singles-day-2019-record-sales-on-biggest-shopping-day.html