The Compelling Singapore Proposition

As the only global HR-focussed executive search firm, ChapmanCG has a lens on the industry that no other company can claim. Currently, in the Singapore headquarters we are seeing more and more top calibre, MNC-experienced HR professionals shunning big corporate names, and instead taking up senior roles in Singapore-based organisations, in both the private and public sectors. Just a few years ago, it would have been an easy and obvious choice for a candidate to pick an MNC over a local organisation, so what are the driving forces behind this trend?

Our conversations through our partnerships with these companies and our close HR contacts have revealed some of the reasons behind this changing tide. Following is an overview of what we have found to be the top value propositions that have made Singapore organisations a more compelling career choice for many top HR Leaders.

A Strong Regional/Global Brand

Many of our locally grown companies can stand ‘shoulder to shoulder’ with other MNCs in the region, and even in global markets. As a nation, Singapore itself is a brand that stands for efficiency, integrity and quality, and that is evidenced through the consistent top rankings in many regional/global surveys. To have progressed from being referenced as the ‘Little Red Dot’ in 1998 to becoming one of the world’s major commercial hubs today, with one of the five busiest ports in the world, it is clear that Singapore has much to offer.

Evolving Culture and Progressive Practices

Candidates have always been concerned about local companies, be they in Singapore or elsewhere, being too inward looking, hierarchical and resistant to change. This may be true in many locations, but in Singapore there is a wealth of diverse and international talent in the workforce, both in HR specifically, and throughout many businesses. As a result we are seeing more progressive, strategic and interesting HR practices, which has in turn attracted similar talent and encouraged these practices further.

We Know Asia – We are Asia

It is not uncommon to hear that non-Asian MNCs still tend to exert fairly centralised control over operations and practices in the region, often failing to fully understand – or choosing to ignore – that Asia is different. Singapore is a melting pot of eastern and western cultures, serving as the gateway to Asia. This small city-state is in an advantageous position for the development and implementation of business in the region, and when organisations develop here, HR strategies are automatically culturally and geographically aligned. This removes the need to educate or influence ‘HQ’ on why Asia is different and/or important, removing a frequent source of frustration for many senior HR Leaders.

The Buck Stops Here: Opportunity to Drive the HR Agenda

This is about the desire to be the leader and not a follower. If you do get that top HR job in a Singaporean organisation, or you are part of the leadership team, it provides a chance to truly take the driver’s seat and determine the destination. There is no checking with HQ to ensure you are aligned with corporate, the decisions and the responsibility are yours. This can of course be both exciting and daunting. It presents an opportunity to put your experience, knowledge and intuition to the test. Do you have what it takes to establish and execute an HR strategy that can shape the culture, drive the performance and achieve business success? This achievement is a lot more meaningful when you have played an integral part in its development.


Singapore organisations certainly deserve fair consideration as employers of choice, as the value proposition has become increasingly compelling, based on the reasons stated. However, concerns and challenges around culture, mind-set, and receptiveness to change can still be very real. Before joining any company, it is important to ensure you are aligned with the organisational values, standards and ethos. As Singapore competes on the global stage, homegrown brands must constantly evolve, in order to attract top calibre candidates and develop best practices.


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