Singapore-based companies are having a tough time finding candidates with the desired experienced for vacant IR positions, according to Joseph Chia, general manager of the Investor Relations Professionals Association (Singapore), or IRPAS.
Companies typically demand at least two to four years’ experience in IR from prospective candidates, but there are not enough IROs at this level to go round, he says.
‘I can empathise with the companies,’ Chia adds. ‘Since IR executives work closely with senior management, the firms always want good people with experience. But I don’t have that many people to recommend.’
Chia says he receives calls on a regular basis from recruitment firms and IRPAS members looking to fill IR positions. ‘Having said that, if you are already in the industry and making a name for yourself as an outstanding IR professional, you are certainly well sought after,’ he adds.
IRPAS is working to ease the pressure on the IR market from both the demand and supply sides.
‘First, we are trying to tone down the expectations of companies as IR is still a fairly new profession in this part of the world,’ says Chia. ‘Second, we are offering training courses and telling people it’s fine to hire someone with less or no direct experience in IR – as long as they are good people with good talents, you can train them up by sending them on IR courses.’
Chia is also going round universities in Singapore introducing the IR profession to bright future talents and offering them the chance of three-month internships at major corporations.
‘So when they graduate it’s not with zero experience in IR,’ he explains. ‘What they learn in the IR departments of listed companies can prove invaluable to their chances of pursuing this promising career.’
[Article by Tim Human, IR magazine]
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