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Candidates prematurely rejecting job offers adds to employment woes

T.C. Seow | Jan. 25, 2013
Candidate withdrawal can be costly and frustrating, and raises concern about the resulting extended vacancy adversely affecting the productivity and morale of existing staff.

Tech companies in Singapore are probably facing a lot of problems lately, especially in the area of talent acquisition and retention. Just six months back, recruitment firm Hudson released a report indicating that Singapore has the highest levels of employee burnout in the whole of Asia Pacific.

This week, Hudson released another report titled "Salary & Employment Insights 2013" that seems to add to the plethora of issues bosses need to address—fickle-minded would-be employees who pull out at the last minute.

According to the report, talent shortages in Singapore are putting employers at greater risk of candidate withdrawal with almost one in four candidates (23.2 percent) withdrawing from the recruitment process and a quarter (25.2 percent) willing to reject signed offers.

Employers in the IT and telecommuncations (IT&T) industry described candidate withdrawal as costly and frustrating, and expressed concern about the resulting extended vacancy adversely affecting the productivity and morale of the existing team. More than three quarters of employers in the IT&T sector (78.1 percent) expect candidates to withdraw at some stage in the recruitment process.

Almost one third (30.1 percent) of IT&T employers report that these withdrawals are occurring between the application and first interview. Of greater concern is that half (50.7 percent) of those surveyed have experienced candidates withdrawing after an offer has been made. The top reason for this is salary that does not meet expectations, followed by better offers or salaries from other companies. The hiring process taking too long was also cited.

Said Andrew Tomich, executive general manager of Hudson Singapore: "The lack of available talent in Singapore is a significant challenge for businesses. Employers will need to use all means necessary, including hiring experts, to help them attract, select, hire and retain high performers who can add immediate value to their organisation."

"Having a conversation up front around salaries and the ability for negotiation (or lack thereof) can reduce the time and effort invested by both parties if a positive outcome is unlikely. If candidates are aware of the salary range throughout the process they are less likely to become disappointed and withdraw their application," he added.

While salary is significant, it is not the only factor that influences employees' decision-making. Career development, training and secondment opportunities, company culture and bonuses, including stock options are increasingly important.

In the report Hudson highlights three key areas where employers need to focus to address candidate withdrawal:

1. reducing and tightening the hiring process,
2. committing to two-way communication with candidates, and
3. being honest with potential employees about salary, benefits and other advantages of working with the company.

"A competitive, attractive salary and benefits, a clear view of career progression and growth are what employees are seeking. In a talent-short market, employers need to deliver on these aspects," added Tomich.


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