News Singapore

Venues see biggest talent crunch in 2019: STB

Events industry recruitment gaps and opportunities examined at SACEOS Alumni Day.

The Singapore Association of Convention & Exhibition Organisers & Suppliers (SACEOS) and the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) have identified key recruitment trends that will impact the business events industry in 2019.

Presented by STB’s executive director of conventions and meetings, Jeannie Lim at the SACEOS Alumni Day earlier this month, the study anticipates labour demand will increase slightly over the next five years, as visitor arrivals and business events are forecasted to grow. This includes a rise in demand for casual labour and ‘part-time professionals’.

The Landscape of MICE Manpower Study, part of the government’s Skills Framework for Tourism initiative, also points to the emergence of new roles in areas such as strategic digital solutions and bespoke customer experience.

A growing demand for innovative, digital, strategic and analytical expertise will also see a rise in contingent professionals, managers, executives and technicians (part-time professionals). To fill this gap, Lim says employers should look to mid-career switchers from adjacent industries and sectors.

When it comes to new employment models, Lim says the younger workforce (millennials and generation z) feel that employment doesn’t necessarily have to be on a full-time basis – and this sentiment is shared among industry veterans who seek greater work-life balance.

“Industry veterans are starting to see that this is not a bad idea because the gig economy or contingent model allows greater flexibility in their employment,” she says.  

Despite increasing demand, the talent crunch is expected to continue. According to the study, a shrinking labour force, smaller tertiary cohort sizes and competition from other industry sectors will lead to a further reduction in manpower supply. Venues will see the steepest demand for manpower, as expectations in client servicing and event operation requirements are set to increase.

Evolving consumer expectations are also redefining sales and marketing roles. The study projects an increase in demand for people who can reinvent the way content is designed, strike partnerships and enable collaboration as more and more companies become multi-solution providers, rather than just being product or service-driven.

Employers also noted that ‘soft skills’ such as out-of-the-box thinking and problem-solving are lacking in today’s curriculum. Moving forward, Lim says STB will continue to work with local universities and institutions to provide support and training to better prepare the business events industry for the future of work.