Charting New Horizons: COMPASS and its Impact on Singapore's Workforce

Have you ever wondered how a transformative framework can reshape an entire workforce and industry?

Let me take you on a journey to a recent gathering where 70 curious individuals came together at the EBC office. This gathering unveiled COMPASS, a framework tailored for Singapore's dynamic landscape, sparking transformative discussions on talent acquisition, engagement, and industry standards.

Richard Bradshaw, MD of Ethos BeathChapman, set the stage, emphasizing COMPASS's complementary nature to the existing EP system. The forum's first question, directed at Amarjit Kaur, employment law Partner of Withers KhattarWong, delved into the real-world challenges clients face in aligning with COMPASS. Amarjit illuminated the complexity, citing the framework's metric-driven detail, which sparked curiosity and even concern among clients. Companies had to rethink their reliance on specific talent sources, provoking fundamental decisions.

As the dialogue continued, Bhawna Gandhi, People Director Asia of Sanofi, shed light on how COMPASS had reshaped talent acquisition and engagement, especially within the pharmaceutical industry's diverse workforce. Sanofi had successfully passed the diversity assessment, yet qualification criteria posed a challenge. The rigid requirement of graduates from prestigious institutions clashed with the desired inclusivity, calling for a nuanced approach.

The gathering was still too fresh into the COMPASS era to encounter rejections, but the need for smoother qualification procedures for functional roles became evident. Suggestions included early qualification for EP renewals and empowering individuals to self-assess.

Leen Ler, Regional Head of TA Ops Asia & Head of TA SG of HSBC, in addition to highlighting the increased significance of communication, especially for internal transfers, stressed the importance of reaching out to senior leadership to secure alignment. She also advised engaging with sector agencies early in the process and utilizing the Shortage Occupation List (SOL) to streamline the qualification process effectively.

Matt Beath, CEO of Will International and Co-Founder of RMI, Matt shared in detail about potential challenges faced by background screening companies and how those impacts onboarding timelines. Standardization and verification became paramount, amplifying the pressure on internal TA teams. The necessity for certifying all qualifications and proactively collecting relevant documentation has surged, playing a crucial role in ensuring robust compliance with the screening process requirements.

The panel's consensus on communication strategies underscored the evolving nature of COMPASS, advocating for transparency, space for adjustments, and a focus on long-term talent development, which was adjusted to SOL. The engagement with sector agencies, and proactive gathering of qualifications emerged as valuable practices contributing to the framework's continuous improvement and success.

A lively Q&A session addressed concerns about education verification, verification timeframes, bridging periods for expiring EPs, and updates to the SOL. The importance of proactive dialogue with MoM and EDB to fill gaps and provide feedback was a resounding message.

In this transformative landscape, COMPASS serves as both a compass and a catalyst, guiding Singapore's workforce toward a more equitable and dynamic future. As the journey continues, collaboration, communication, and adaptability remain the keys to success. Companies like EBC, RMI and Withers have therefore been assisting clients to revise their policies and procedures to adapt to the new COMPASS Framework.

Moreover, EBC has future plans to collaborate with its partners to host a follow-up session on COMPASS in Q1 2024. This session will be dedicated to sharing valuable insights, offering tips and advice, and addressing any potential updates, including any revisions to the SOL if applicable.

Download the COMPASS Fundamentals. Click here.