How To Uncover 8 Hidden Talent Pools That Already Exist

It has been real painful for Singapore businesses over the past two years.

For a nation that is addicted to the allure of cheap and easy foreign labour, the catastrophic withdrawal symptoms were apparently obvious when scores of companies have to not just stop hiring them but to even let some of the existing ones go.

Many businesses could not react. Some are still figuring out how to react after two long years since the beginning of the curb.

It has led to the demise of Lei Garden, a popular Chinese restaurant founded in 1989. This is not just about the food & beverage industry.

The world continue to spin

You can try looking for the usual local experience talent pool but who are we kidding.

If there are sufficient supply of talents there, we wouldn’t have to resort to hire foreigners in the first place.

Companies need to wake up to the new reality of talent acquisition or risk adding to the statistics that Lei Garden is part of.

Alternate Talent Pool

Many companies I speak with is so adamant about the traditional talent pool. The ones that are ready to plug-and-play with zero hand holding.

I can understand why.

It’s less work for the supervisor or manager.

But I got news for you. Every top tier companies are fighting for the same group of people.

So if you are a mid-tier audit company, you only get to talk to people that the Big 4 or 5 turned away.

And we are not counting internal auditors that Fortune 500 or Big Caps on the stock exchange require too.

So instead of doing the same thing over and over again and expecting better results (Einstein), you need to evaluate the way you look at the typical talent pipeline. Here are eight success stories that might inspire you to look at proven alternatives.

1.       Ex-Offenders

Eighteen Chefs is a restaurant chain set up by former inmate Benny Se Teo. They hires ex-offenders and troubled youths, and turns over $10m (£6.4m) a year. His five restaurants employ about 140 people, nearly half of whom had difficult pasts.

The Singapore Corporation of Rehabilitative Enterprises (SCORE) is the statutory board in charge of prepping offenders to be work-ready by equipping them with the right training and relevant work experience during their stint in prison. The skills training focus primarily on vocational skills relevant to Hospitality, Food & Beverage (F&B), Logistics and Manufacturing Industries.

2.       People with disabilities

Events Management Company Adrenalin hired 35 physically disabled staff over the years to work in its design, finance or studio departments. The same high standards were expected for all staff, including the disabled.

SGEnable is the agency dedicated to enabling persons with disabilities. They provide functions such as enhancing information and referral services for child and adult disability schemes; administering grants and support to persons with disabilities and their caregivers; improving transition management across different life stages; enhancing employability and employment options for persons with disabilities; and rallying stakeholder support in enabling persons with disabilities.

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3.       The Inexperienced

Nityo Infotech is global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company headquartered in Pittsburgh PA, USA with a strong presence in Americas, APAC, India, EMEA, Canada, Australia, Japan and South Africa. To supplement the high volume of IT support headcounts, they leverage on WDA’s Professional Conversion Program and work closely with training provider Lithan Hall on a structured place-and-train program.

WDA’s Professional Conversion Programmes help jobseekers to re-skill themselves and to obtain the necessary knowledge and competencies to take on new jobs. This enhances the jobseekers’ employability as they have the necessary competencies to take on the new jobs. Hence jobseekers, including mid-career individuals, can take on a new job with greater confidence.

The program covers IT, early childhood care and education, creative, social services and intellectual property.

4.       Scholarship

JUMBO Group is a forerunner of the Asian F&B industry, famed for its Singapore-style seafood and Asian cuisine that are reflective of the rich culinary heritage of the region. To attract students to consider Jumbo as their first employer destination after graduation, Jumbo offer a scholarship program that cover students’ remaining year(s) of study (covering school fees, study allowance and sign-on bonus) and an employment opportunity as part of the scholarship bond.

SPRING Singapore has a SME Talent Programme (STP) that helps local SMEs attract local talents from the Polytechnics and Institutes of Technical Education (ITEs) by sponsoring students study awards and job opportunities upon graduation.

5.       Mothers

Maybank has a 5-day work week and staff are given the flexibility to opt for part time work, and arrange their start and end times so as to incorporate family or personal demands into their schedule. This flexibility encourages employees to pursue further academic qualifications and a better family life, including procreation!

Mums@Work is a social enterprise that strives to help women find the perfect balance between being a mum and working. They aim to provide mums with the support, assistance and advice when choosing flexi-time options.

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6.       The Elderly

Yusen Air & Sea Service (S) Pte Ltd carried out job redesign to leverage on the work experience of their mature employees through the creation of new job roles. The job scopes of mature employees at the management level, namely, Managers, Senior Managers and General Managers, from different departments were redesigned to include mentorship roles.

For instance, a Senior Logistics Manager previously involved in physically demanding work in the Logistics Department was re-employed in a new job role as a Compliance Manager. This new job was desk-bound and no longer physically demanding, He also went through various training courses to equip himself with the essential skills and knowledge to assume his new job role.

Silver Spring is the leading social enterprise to help mature Professionals, Managers, and Executives (PMEs), and even retired professionals to return to the workforce. They believe the wealth of experience in mature workers is critical to business success as it allows them to tap on decades of experience and make sure mistakes are avoided.

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7.       Freelancers

The hunt for talent is shifting online, and businesses are increasingly hiring professionals on a flexible basis, according to Elance-oDesk, an online platform for hiring freelance talent. Rich Pearson, SVP of categories and geographies at Elance-oDesk, said that businesses globally spent in 2014 a total about $926 million hiring online via and By the close of 2014, Elance-oDesk’s community crossed the 13.5 million mark, with 3.8 million businesses and 9.7 million freelancers. Of this, Singapore has 30,000 businesses and 37,000 freelancers.

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8.       Part-timer

Almost every week there is a major event held at the three exhibition centres around Singapore. Each of these events (and many more that are held elsewhere) require many interim part-timers to help out in order to make the event a success. Standard Chartered Marathon and IT shows would not be possible without scores of part-timers’ participation.

Temploy is a webapp that matches part time workers to employers automatically, safely and anonymously. It allows candidates to design their own jobs based on preferences of time, location, skills and pay.

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