Telum Talks To...  Dee O'Neill, Managing Director, Brandwagon

Telum Talks To... Dee O'Neill, Managing Director, Brandwagon

Singapore's labour market recovery is expected to continue in the months ahead, but what does the future hold for future comms and PR employees? Telum caught up with PR specialist and marketing recruiter, Dee O'Neill to share her views. Dee has 15 years' experience in the Singapore market and drives the Brandwagon bus and its strategic vision, focusing on helping clients find transformational talent, coaching candidates to build their own brands and land their dream roles.  

What is the current state of the communications jobs market in Singapore?
Business is booming in Singapore and at this point we all know it is a fast moving market at the moment and there are a lot of exciting opportunities.The market has clearly evolved to become a candidate market with over 40% of candidates open to a move at any one time this means the market is moving constantly and that is not always a good thing for candidates and clients for a host of reasons.

Hiring managers are certainly feeling the pinch and this is leading to them being far more open to finding candidates with experience from complementary industries rather than the tried and tested background as well as more open to just hire for potential and attitude which in my book is always the best way to hire, so I think ultimately this will be great for the industry.The market is thankfully opening up, lots of opportunity in our space, and it is running at a speed of knots with more openness to bringing people from outside the market in.

What are some challenges employers face when recruiting in the current market?
The two years that we have all been through has caused a massive shift in the priorities of candidates and how they approach work. It is not practical for employers to ignore the seismic shift that has occurred in the hearts and minds of employees. Candidates are more discerning than ever. They will do their due diligence and need to be convinced that the organisation has real purpose, stands for something and is on top of their brand reputation and is really walking the walk in terms of culture. Employers that have their head in the sand or disregard these objectives will be hit hard with talent and skills shortages in the coming year.

In addition, the speed of the market is a huge challenge for employers as a good candidate will be snapped up so unless the recruitment process is more focused and essentially quicker the reality is they will lose out sadly.

As travel restrictions eases, companies can resume approaching talent management with a global perspective. Are you seeing this?
We are definitely seeing this, we are reaching out to candidates in the US, UK and Australia in focus areas where we have a real and genuine shortage in Singapore on the consultancy side e.g in the healthcare communications side.

In addition, on the client side we are being asked to source employee engagement senior leaders who have expert experience running internal comms and engagement strategies for large complex business during the various crisis’s that have been in our world recently, COVID, civil unrest, war etc.

What skills are in high demand today?  
In consultancy the big ask is genuinely always team players beyond all else, people who put the good of the team and culture above everything and who check their ego at the door. In terms of great skills to have it would remain integrated skills like an understanding of Paid, earned and owned media, audiovisual media and graphics and data and analytics, and the ability to be able to understand the metrics behind your content.

On the client side, It is experience on the engagement side, leadership comms with global sensitivity and a career spent focusing on additional markets to APAC.

Any final advice for candidates looking to relocate and start a career in Singapore?
Don’t underestimate how important it is to fully integrate with your colleagues from all over the APAC region and in this country, get under the hood of the real Singapore and not only the expat haunts, that effort and genuine willingness to understand the country the wonderful people that are hosting you is always appreciated.

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