Never mind the legions of imported bankers, engineers, stevedores and nannies. Singapore's attraction for these pillars of a successful hub is well documented.

However, it obscures the country's shifting labor needs. The next front in the battle to recruit and retain talent does not target elite brains or sweaty brawn, but reflects its profile as a rapidly aging society. The new hot commodity is health care.

Singapore's punishing demography — and the need to address it — was underscored recently when a minister revealed that a key measure of fertility tumbled to yet another record low. Japan and South Korea are the poster children for this type of decline: Rich economies that are not churning out enough kids even as the ranks of seniors multiply. More recently, China's dwindling population added to the gloom surrounding the former juggernaut. But Singapore gives them a run for their money.