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Speech at “Singapore – The Global Talent and Leadership Development Hub For Asia” at the Official Opening Ceremony of The Human Capital Leadership Institute

Mr Gan Kim Yong, Minister for Manpower, Nepal Hill

Mr Sunny Verghese
Chairman, Governing Council of Human Capital Leadership Institute

Mr Leo Yip
Chairman, Singapore Economic Development Board

Professor Howard Hunter
President, Singapore Management University

Distinguished guests
Ladies and gentlemen

  1. Last September at the Singapore Human Capital Summit, Prime Minister announced the establishment of the Human Capital Leadership Institute, or HCLI, by the Ministry of Manpower and the Singapore Management University. This morning, I am pleased to join you for HCLI’s official opening, and share with you how HCLI will help position Singapore as a global talent and leadership development hub in Asia for Asia.

    Developing Singapore’s Workforce Competitiveness

  2. 2009 was an extremely challenging year for the world due to the severe financial crisis and economic downturn. Despite the difficult circumstances, Singapore emerged better than we had initially expected. Singapore’s outlook for 2010 is optimistic with our economy projected to grow by 7-9%1 and more than 100,000 new jobs created. We can expect that the war for talent2 will intensify when companies expand their talent pool as business picks up.

  3. Employers will hire only the best candidates with the right skills and attributes. The workforce needs to upgrade their skills and knowledge in order to remain competitive and marketable. Therefore, a key thrust of Singapore’s economic growth strategy going forward is to enhance workforce capabilities by focusing on skills, innovation and productivity. To achieve this, we need to help companies develop progressive talent management and leadership capabilities.

    Building a Global Home for Local & Global Talent

  4. Asia is set to spearhead world economic growth over the next few decades. Not surprisingly, we see more global companies setting up operations in the region to build up their knowledge of Asia, extend business networks and expand markets. In doing so, they need individuals with the relevant cultural and business knowledge, skills and leadership qualities to helm and run their operations in Asia. Companies will move to countries where such talent is readily available.

  5. Singapore must seize this window of opportunity and position ourselves as a “Home for Talent” to drive business and innovation. A Home for Talent needs a vibrant talent ecosystem, where businesses can find and develop the necessary talent capital to helm their operations here.

  6. MOM and EDB are working closely on this front to ensure we have both the hardware and software in place to grow talent centres of excellence for nurturing top local and global talent. This will then encourage more innovation for businesses in Singapore and across Asia. We will also provide companies with a supportive and holistic environment to nurture these talents into future leaders.

  7. By leveraging on this unique offering, we can develop Singapore as a choice home for both talented individuals as well as growth companies. Top local talents will want to remain in Singapore and global talents will want to come here because we have the best educational infrastructures to help them develop their leadership competencies and further their careers. Global companies will also invest and set up operations in Singapore because of the availability of a deep talent pool. Together with our strategic geographical location, unique multicultural attributes and world-class infrastructures, we believe Singapore is well-positioned to become this Home for Talent in the heart of Asia.

    Global Talent Strategies to Drive Business Growth in Asia

  8. This is where HCLI will play a pivotal role. HCLI will be the global talent and leadership hub for Asia in Asia to provide knowledge and advice on emerging talent management trends and leadership development issues. This will benefit global companies who wish to enter the Asian market, as well as growing Asian companies seeking to enhance their human capital and leadership strategies to compete on the global stage.

  9. As an institution centered on thought leadership and talent development, HCLI will generate innovative talent management ideas, practices and strategies out of Singapore to be contextualised for Asia. To achieve this, HCLI has a research arm which will draw support from SMU’s expertise and resources in applied research. At the same time, HCLI will also work with other top researchers and faculties in Singapore and globally. This will ensure that HCLI offers a unique value proposition in helping companies translate the best talent and leadership ideas into practical strategies to support business growth.

    HCLI the Centerpiece of the Human Capital Ecosystem

  10. You may have observed as you made your way here, that we are at a rustic location surrounded by greenery and unique colonial-themed bungalows. This area will be developed into an iconic knowledge cluster called LINK@Nepal Hill. LINK stands for Leadership Initiatives, Networks, Knowledge. Fronted by EDB, the LINK initiative aims to grow pan-Asian talent management and leadership research which will be codified, applied and disseminated through cutting-edge talent and leadership development programmes.

  11. LINK@Nepal Hill will bring together various key stakeholders in the human capital ecosystem. It will eventually house top global business schools, leadership and talent management consultancies, and corporate universities to deliver these leadership and talent development activities. HCLI will be the centerpiece of LINK@Nepal Hill and will play the critical role of an integrator. It will engage and collaborate with companies to help them address their pan-Asian leadership development and talent management needs. It will work with leading business schools and consultancies to offer best-in-class programmes. Over the next few years, the initiatives by HCLI will generate greater buzz & create more opportunities for all stakeholders in the human capital ecosystem in Singapore and Asia.


  12. Developing ourselves as a home for talent will be a key strategy in the next phase of Singapore’s growth that will be driven by knowledge, innovation and productivity. Strong talent and leadership development capabilities will be pivotal to growth companies will determine their ability to develop a sustainable competitive edge. Talent and leadership development capabilities therefore, are not just an input factor but a critical driver for business growth in a vibrant Asia.

  13. With strong support from its partners, HCLI is well-positioned to play a key role in equipping companies and leaders with the necessary talent and leadership knowledge and capabilities to meet the demands of a challenging and diverse Asian business landscape. In doing so, HCLI will help position Singapore as the global centre of excellence for talent management and leadership development in Asia for Asia. On this note, I wish HCLI success as it embarks on this exciting journey. Thank you.

1 Based on latest released MTI figures,
2 N. Paton, Brace Yourself for a New War for Talent.