There are encouraging signs ahead for the labour market, with a recent survey showing a Net Employment Outlook (NEO) of +15%, the highest in Singapore in six years. The net employment outlook is a metric used to gauge the expected increase in employment levels.
There are indications that the healing process began towards the end of 2020, with employment levels of Singaporeans and Permanent Residents increasing for the first time in the third quarter. And while the return to pre-pandemic hiring levels will be slow and steady, the employment outlook was positive across all sectors surveyed, with the strongest indicators in Construction, Services, Transportation & Utilities, and Public Administration & Education.
The Construction sector has the strongest outlook, with an NEO score of +26%. With projects postponed to 2021 due to Covid-19, the sector is expected to post a strong and sustained recovery over the next five years. This will start with public sector projects which account for about 65% of all projects, and include public housing, transport and healthcare infrastructure. The private sector recovery will be more cautious and is expected to grow steadily in the medium term.
There are currently more than 4,000 job openings in the construction industry on MyCareersFuture, from administrative roles, to mechanics, project engineers, supervisors, and all the way up to Managing Directors.
The services industry is also picking up strongly, especially due to the Jobs Growth Incentive scheme, which is a wage subsidy scheme introduced as part of the government’s support package. In September 2020, one month after the launch of the scheme, over 7,700 new hires had been made in the food services sector alone. In fact, the food services sector had 9,200 job openings posted on the MyCareersFuture portal at the end of last year, 37% of which are for PMET roles such as sales, marketing and business development managers.
Transportation & Utilities
Transportation is picking up on the public transport and sea cargo fronts. Our ports remained open, and sea cargo levels are almost at pre-pandemic levels. The plan is also to grow the industry’s talent pool as it gears up for more digitalisation. Public transport ridership, while currently at only 70% of pre-pandemic levels, is steadily increasing as the economy and workplaces open back up.
Environmental services is another industry that is showing lots of growth. While the industry is traditionally reliant on manpower, it’s primed for transformation with the adoption of technology and innovation. Jobs are being simplified and automated, and new roles have emerged in areas such as sustainability management, research and development, and engineering, which has given rise to more younger people joining the sector. As of June last year, the industry employed almost 74,000 people, and as recently as last month, there were 1,600 openings for roles such as mechanical design engineers, service delivery leads and various executive roles.
Public Administration & Education
Singapore is also undergoing a broad-sweeping, fundamental change in the way we approach education. Rather than focusing on education during one’s younger years, the aim is an education system that supports learning for life, and this has led to an increase in roles, including the creation of new ones. There is also a push for more support for children who come from lower-income or disadvantaged backgrounds, as well as greater awareness of the importance of other skills beyond traditional academic areas. To support this change, more allied educators, counsellors and welfare officers are being employed.
Our tertiary institutions such as National University of Singapore, Nanyang Technological University and the Singapore University of Social Sciences are just some of the organisations with openings available in education. There are also many government organisations hiring for public administration roles.
There are a variety of roles and positions available, whether you’re starting out in your career, or at the mid-career stage and even looking to make a switch. With these sectors finding their feet and even heading towards growth, 2021 is looking to be a year of recovery.