Despite economic slowdown this year, companies in Singapore are still starved of talent, according to the latest survey by ManpowerGroup. According to an earlier annual report by the company, a deficit of qualified candidates is a global problem, with 77 per cent of companies across 40 markets admitting to problems in hiring — a 17-year high. This figure is even higher in Singapore, at 83 per cent — just one point below last year’s record:

It comes as no surprise then that in the latest report, ahead of the fourth quarter of 2023, the employment outlook for in the city-state remains strongly positive. This comes on the heels of data published by Indeed, which found that while the number of vacancies is going down, their quality is consistently high — i.e. companies are looking to pay top dollar for competent candidates.

Half of Singapore is still hiring this year
48 per cent of employers have plans to increase hiring by the end of the year, with just 12 per cent expecting retrenchments. This gives a net positive of +36 per cent, the second highest in Asia, after India’s +37 per cent for the period. Globally, Singapore is trailing only a handful of countries with a net +38 per cent and Costa Rica at 41 per cent.

Where to seek a good job in Singapore?
From a candidate’s perspective, the chance of landing a good job is higher in industries which are struggling the most to find qualified staff. It means that they are both, more likely to seek to employ and offer better terms to woo talent.

Simply put, we can categorise it either by quantity (the number of jobs) or quality (how good the offers are).
Starting with the former, despite a drop in exports, 60 per cent of companies in transport & logistics are hiring in the fourth quarter of this year, followed by health care & life sciences, communications and finance/real estate. These are the industries where you are most likely to find new opportunities in the coming three months.

Meanwhile, the list of those struggling to find competent staff the most is led by energy & utilities, where very nearly all companies report problems in employing the right people, followed by four others which have also landed above average of 83 per cent for Singapore. Unsurprisingly, you can find similar entries on both lists, where qualitative demands intersect with a relatively large number of opportunities, i.e. in Health Care & Life Sciences, Transport & Logistics and Financials & Real Estate, which are near the top in both.

These are the industries offering the best prospects at the moment, particularly if your set of skills can be applied to different fields (think IT, mathematics, some areas of engineering and so on) and you yourself are flexible about the industry. Given the shortages, you might not even have to be a perfect candidate and yet still wield considerable bargaining power if you tick most of the boxes for the prospective employer, as long as the rest can be acquired on the job.
We’re still very firmly in the employee’s market, and it’s a good opportunity to either look for a career upgrade or entry into the labour force on better-than-usual terms. Enjoy it why it lasts, since it might end as suddenly as it appeared, given how uncertain global economic conditions are.


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