The job market in Singapore is uncommonly competitive. As if to prove the point, one in five Singapore job candidates submitted false information in 2016. Tighter background checks, automated or manual, are flagging more false info in the asphyxiated job environment of 2017.
According Paul Jansen, CEO of ResumeShoppe.com, Singapore job-seekers are buying help to boost their job prospects in record numbers. She represents one of ResumeShoppe‘s top ten markets, below Germany. No other South East Asian market is in the top 10. The next smallest market in the top 10 is the Netherlands, with a population of 17 million, compared to Singapore’s 5.3 million. The takeaway is clarity itself. Singapore takes jobs extremely seriously.
Ms Wong Su-Yen, CEO of the Human Capital Leadership Institute wrote recently that Singapore’s competitive advantage lies in her human talent. This has always been the rallying cry for Singapore to work harder. According to research by Standard Chartered, productivity growth in Singapore is growing, against a global trend of slowing productivity. The quality of candidates has never been higher.
The cultural propensity for Singapore to compete aggressively for jobs opens up a unique opportunity for technology startups that offer a jobs solution.
While job portals are a dime a dozen, other aspects of the hiring or job seeking process are still evolving. The following HR tech chart by HR blogger Adrian Tan shows the extent to which HR solutions are specialized.
Tech hiring, Graduate hiring and Career development / coaching are the niches that are the most relevant categories for our focus on Singapore’s competitive job market.
Through the proliferation of tech hiring and graduate hiring solutions, we can already see that high value candidates are attracting specialized solutions. Companies such as HackerTrail and Glints help local companies get past the noise of all-purpose job portals. This development is yet to take place in neighbouring markets such as Indonesia and Malaysia.
On the other side of the coin are career development and coaching companies such as ProtegeHub and Career Hero. They offer tools to help candidates find better opportunities or increase candidates’ value through mentorship and advice. These companies could not have existed in an earlier time when job portals were new. Now though, they are de rigeur for savvy jobseekers.
Existing job portals have done a good job historically of serving their clients, namely companies. It is only now that we are seeing solutions that purport to help jobseekers. With a first world economy where recruitment specialists are being paid internationally competitive rates, the time is right for jobseeker solutions that can capture the value usually delivered by recruiters.
In “Impossible to Ignore”, cognitive scientist Dr Carmen Simon reminds us that if we want our audience to act at a future time, they have to remember to do so. We recall a mere 10% of what we see after a few days. In order for your resume to be remembered after a few days, a simple change of layout or hyperlink to online portfolio, makes a notable difference. While companies are happy to adopt AI for the screening process, we have yet to meet one that excludes a human being from the final decision.
The subject of the earlier study was presentations. The figure for memory recall predictably gets a little worse for recruiting professionals sifting through similar resumes day-in and day-out. Let your resume stand out so when the time comes for recruitment managers to review the candidates, yours is the 10% that remains in the memory.
This digression highlights one of the greatest challenges facing jobseekers today – how to craft a compelling, memorable resume. While traditional job portals do a good job of serving companies, their jobseeker tools are no more than an afterthought.
Companies have embedded job portal usage into their hiring processes. As such, getting companies to use job portals is less of a challenge than offering a strong value proposition. A solution that is focused on attracting top talent to deposit their resumes and help the same talent improve their resume for memory retention by HR offers a strong argument to attract said talent.
Some may object that resumes are old hat. A future proof SaaS for job seekers would not bother improving resumes but should just capture candidate information and store it in a database. To that, oil and Gas entrepreneur Jason Lavis shares that recruiting driven by AI is a matter of great interest in the aggressive cost-cutting environment that he finds himself in. However, there is recognition that Oil and Gas is a strange beast. Hiring managers still prefer to parse the resumes, as well as hire from known talent pools. This little glimpse into a competitive industry ought allay fears that we will all be assigned jobs from a nameless central Google server. There is life yet in the humble resume.
A competitive jobs environment for jobseekers and a first world economy combine to offer great potential in a solution tailored to jobseekers. Scalability and internationalization are the challenges moving forward. In 2018, we can expect the need to become more acute and for some kind of solutions to arise.