LOCAL small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have been lamenting the difficulty in attracting better-qualified workers, who prefer to join multinational corporations and the public service.

With the release of the Applied Study in Polytechnics and ITE Review report, a long-awaited "cultural shift" has arrived - skill sets are now seen as being on a par with paper qualifications.

This paves the way for SMEs to review their human resource strategies.

When hiring, what qualities and skill sets does the company need? Does the firm require a degree holder, or a non-graduate who is street-smart and can plan marketing campaigns?

HR practitioners, especially those in SMEs, need to do three things:

  • Define clearly what capabilities are required for jobs;
  • Recognise and reward employees based on performance and the acquisition of even higher-level skill sets; and
  • Develop career paths that are more closely aligned with the required skill sets, rather than years of service and qualifications.

If SMEs were to hire and groom employees using this new paradigm, it should not be difficult to spot local talent in their midst.