Singaporean professionals overseas want to ‘return home’

A recent poll conducted by Robert Walters Singapore has unveiled that a significant 58% of overseas Singaporean professionals are expressing a strong desire to relocate back home within the next five years.

The primary motivations behind this trend are attributed to familial responsibilities and a sense of attachment to Singapore’s stability. However, the survey also sheds light on concerns hindering this transition, such as negative perceptions of the local job market.

The findings signify a notable increase from 2021 when only 49% of respondents expressed interest in returning to Singapore. The poll asked 123 overseas Singaporean professionals representing diverse industries.

“As more overseas Singaporean professionals return home, employers will have an added source of glocal talent – who marry technical skillsets with experience in handling international market considerations. Progressive companies looking to secure this talent pool will have a higher chance of success by debunking myths and addressing their concerns over working here – such as customising job descriptions and compensation and benefits packages to attract talents with in-demand skillsets,” said Monty Sujanani – Country Manager at Robert Walters Singapore.

Family Bonds and Stability Drive Relocation Aspirations

An overwhelming 76% of participants cited the desire to care for aging parents and other family members as the primary reason motivating their eagerness to return to Singapore. Furthermore, 41% of respondents revealed a strong emotional, social, and cultural connection to their homeland as another significant factor encouraging them to consider relocation.

The confidence displayed in Singapore’s overall stability and growth prospects was noted as a contributing factor for 48% of those surveyed. In addition, the positive impact of national-level policies and incentives was recognized by 42% of respondents as an encouragement to come back.

What hinders the homecoming?

However, the survey also uncovers obstacles preventing some overseas Singaporeans from making the move. Negative perceptions of the local job market emerged as a major concern, with 52% of respondents expressing doubts about finding suitable career opportunities, work arrangements, and preferred working styles in Singapore. Additionally, 67% believed their skillsets would be more valued overseas, and they were concerned about a more favorable salary-to-cost-of-living ratio in other countries.

The allure of competitive salaries abroad was evident in the survey results, as 47% of respondents feared a potential reduction in compensation and benefits upon returning to Singapore. An astonishing 86% of those polled indicated that they would only consider a Singapore compensation package if it matched or exceeded their current earnings after conversion.

Sujanani emphasised the strategic advantage that returning overseas Singaporean professionals could offer to local employers. He suggested that forward-thinking companies should address the concerns raised in the survey to attract this valuable talent pool. This could involve customizing job descriptions and compensation packages to align with the aspirations and skillsets of these professionals.

He also highlighted the potential for businesses to expand their talent pool through initiatives like the “Balik Kampung” program, aimed at identifying and securing skilled Singaporean talent from overseas.

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Chief of Staff Asia