Education is key in building a strong Singaporean core: Henkel

Consumer goods company Henkel Singapore’s president chats with HRD on how education is vital in building a world-class talent pool

Education is key in building a strong Singaporean core: Henkel
In his keynote address at the 10th anniversary celebration of the Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices (TAFEP), Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say said that progressive employers have to commit themselves to three priority outcomes: build a stronger Singaporean core, forge stronger bonds between local workers and foreign talent, and to cultivate a culture of learning between foreign PMETs and local PMETs.

One such company that is able to strike a balance between its Singaporean core and foreign talent is consumer goods company, Henkel.

“With Singapore being a global centre of excellence for Henkel, having an international team is critical to understanding and being responsive to our markets, customers and consumers—locally, regionally, and globally,” said Thomas Holenia, president of Henkel Singapore and managing director of Henkel’s global supply chain hub in Singapore to HRD.

“Around 60% of our employees are Singaporeans, and they hold positions across the leadership, managerial, and non-managerial levels.”

“Singaporeans also form the majority of our long-service employees, where 48% of our employees have worked for more than five years and 38% have been with the company for 10 years or more. As such, a strong Singaporean core is important to our growth and succession planning here.” 

While the company established roots in the country more than thirty years ago, it is only last year that they opened its global supply chain hub in Singapore.

The company is also looking to add to its headcount in the coming year.

As part of their efforts to bring in more local talent, they collaborated with local universities, National University of Singapore (NUS) and Nanyang Technological University (NTU), to be able to source “local interns, new graduates experienced managers to fill various roles”.

“The country’s universities are among the top in Asia and offer excellent educational programmes, producing the region’s experts in the fields of supply chain management, logistics, and digital,” he said, adding that is the country’s emphasis on education that produces a world-class talent pool.

“During the start-up phase of our global supply chain hub in Singapore, we established a core team by bringing together existing expertise from different countries within the company,” he said. 

“As we ramp up activities and with a view on the long term, our focus is on hiring locals as well as to contribute to the upskilling of talents in Singapore.”

Still, Holenia said that their approach to recruitment is looking for people with “the relevant mix of local and regional expertise, a global mindset, and leadership capabilities” and that candidates are evaluated based on their experience, capabilities, and potential, regardless of nationality.

“As a global company, diversity & inclusion is a key element of our corporate culture that positions Henkel as an employer of choice as well as a key driver of our business success,” he said.
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