The global economic volatility of recent weeks has yet to impact on Singapore’s recruitment market. In reality, it is unlikely to as many organisations are already proceeding with caution in terms of their hiring plans and most recruitment firms have already adapted their structure and services to meet those needs.

Despite what happens in the European and US markets, Singapore does have the advantage of low unemployment, strong manufacturing, pharmaceutical and trade services output and a debt level that is comparatively low compared to many other countries.

Thus, while well-considered decisions about recruiting needs to continue is expected, key hiring remains unchanged.

The demand will remain in many areas, notably in those where skills shortages are impacting businesses the hardest, such as in information technology, accountancy and finance, sales and Singapore’s booming construction sector. Employers are expected to continue to create new roles where needed and replacement hires will continue.

The recruitment process may lengthen as employers take their time to ensure they make the right hire, and candidates with a demonstrable record in adding value to a business will be in most demand. 

So, what does this all mean for finance professionals? The flow-on effect means that finance professionals will need to make sure they stand out by building skills set that will help them in their career development while effectively contributing to the organisation and its growth. 

Core skills

Here are the key skills finance professionals need for a long-term successful career:

Technical skills

Finance professionals need to become finance experts. You need good accounting knowledge to know that records are accurate. You also need good financial analysis skills to interpret data. If you want to specialise, such as in treasury or tax, you will need to develop the appropriate technical skills in the area you intend to pursue.

Business knowledge

Apart from having good technical skills,  you also need to understand their importance in the business world. Therefore, business knowledge is essential. Attain these skills by getting involved in your own business and reading financial news every day to get a good understanding of the international business world.

Staff development

Effective staff development means you understand how vital your people are. There is no point in being a loner in your career. The ability you have to influence a business and do a good job is dependent on the calibre of the people who work for you.

So, take time to build the best possible team and develop your staff. All team members should be your representatives — you want them to be able to walk into a meeting and show how good they are — which will reflect positively on you.

Communication skills

This doesn’t just mean the ability to make a presentation. It also refers to your ability to influence others. If you have 30 seconds with the managing director, you need to be able to communicate the three or four key messages you need to get across simply so they can be understood.

International experience

With the above four skills, you can have a great career but if you want to reach the top, international experience is becoming increasingly important. To gain international experience, you do not necessarily need to complete a secondment, although that will obviously be an advantage.

You may consider working in the Australian or European part of the business, or get involved with overseas projects. Such experience gives you a solid understanding of the culture of the business.

It will take time to build up these skills but if you focus on developing them early, it will you ensure that you stand out as a leader in your industry as well as have a good career.