Singapore’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are grappling with various disparities that hinder their ability to attract and retain highly skilled professionals, according to recent research conducted by Employment Hero, a prominent HR tech platform. The study, which surveyed 515 hiring leaders in Singapore and Malaysia, sheds light on the urgent need to level the playing field for talent recruitment between local SMEs and multinational corporations (MNCs).

A major barrier encountered by SMEs in talent acquisition, as highlighted in the study, is the rising costs of advertising job vacancies. An overwhelming 86% of business leaders agreed that advertising costs have increased compared to the previous year. Additionally, 83% of respondents expressed concerns about the prohibitive cost of accessing job boards, further exacerbating the hiring challenges faced by SMEs.

The research also identified other factors contributing to increased hiring costs, such as rising salaries, labor shortages, escalating job board posting expenses, and higher commission rates for recruitment agencies. SME leaders in Singapore face an additional hurdle in the form of a technology divide, with 69% stating that affordable, high-quality technology to facilitate the hiring process remains out of reach.

Given that 96% of businesses in Singapore are SMEs, ensuring their access to the right talent is crucial for the overall growth and prosperity of the country’s economy. In response to these challenges, Employment Hero recently introduced Swag, a groundbreaking employment superapp. Swag employs AI-powered recruitment functionality specifically designed to streamline the job search process for SMEs and jobseekers alike. Powered by a network of over 200,000 employers and more than 1 million employees, Swag simplifies talent acquisition by enabling businesses to post job advertisements for free. The platform leverages AI technology to match job applicants with suitable roles, promoting efficiency and effectiveness in the recruitment process.

Kevin Fitzgerald, the Managing Director, Asia, at Employment Hero, emphasized the significance of addressing the rising costs of recruitment and providing SMEs with equal opportunities to attract and retain top talent. Fitzgerald stated, “The rising costs of recruitment create a huge disadvantage for local SMEs, resulting in them spending countless manual hours on recruiting, further impacting productivity and profitability. SMEs are the backbone of Singapore’s economy, and so it is critical to ensure they have access to seamless recruitment processes and equal opportunities to attract and retain the best candidates. Swag was created by Employment Hero to address these issues by providing a free, AI-powered platform for job posting and matching, significantly streamlining the hiring process.”

Fitzgerald also urged SMEs to adopt innovative solutions and adapt their recruitment practices to compete effectively against MNCs in attracting talented individuals. He emphasized the need for a new approach to ensure the success and growth of SMEs in Singapore.

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