Creating a virtuous cycle
Countries that fail to do this will stagnate and worse, fall behind, said Dr Tan.
Competing for global talent is an offensive game
Countries like Germany and UK, Australia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and more recently, Malaysia and Thailand, have all launched talent visas of their own.
Tapping the networks of rainmakers
“These are the rainmakers of the world, whom we hope to bring to Singapore, so that we can tap on their networks, grow teams around them and learn from their expertise, and through this efforts, we can level up our industries as well as our workforce,” said Dr Tan.
Helping locals succeed and compete strongly
Dr Tan gave the example of Mr Tan Wern-Yuen, a Singaporean who has ventured abroad to gain valuable experience. He started his first overseas stint as Managing Director of McDonald’s Taiwan. He then became the CEO of Walmart China, where he led a team of 100,000 associates responsible for over US$10 billion in annual revenue. Now, he is back in Singapore, as CEO of PepsiCo APAC, helming the global firm’s operations across Asia-Pacific, Australia, China and New Zealand.
There are good support programmes to support Singaporeans to venture overseas for global exposure. For instance, MAS has the Asian Financial Leaders Scheme that co-funds and sends promising Singaporeans in the Financial Sector on leadership programmes. Other similar schemes include the SkillsFuture Leadership Development Initiative, and Enterprise Singapore’s Global Ready Talent Programme.
At this year’s budget, Dr Tan also announced a new Singapore Global Executive Programme that will help local enterprises build a pipeline of young local talent with potential to take on regional or global leadership positions.
“Leadership development must fundamentally be driven by our businesses,” Dr Tan said.
To this end, the Singapore Business Federation is doing its part. It has taken the lead to form an Alliance for Action (AfA) on Business Leadership Development. This AfA brings together businesses and local leaders to look into ways to cultivate conducive conditions for Singapore talent to strengthen regional exposure and assume key leadership roles in enterprises. The AfA will also draw upon the diverse experiences from business and academia to help Singaporeans broaden their networks and learn progressive leadership practices. I look forward to the ideas and initiatives that the AfA will propose.