Singapore’s job market is clearly rebounding from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the numbers are backing up optimistic sentiments that our economy is getting back on track.
The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) released its 2021 labour market report recently. It showed that total employment in 2021, excluding migrant domestic workers, jumped by 41,400 after suffering a hit of 166,600 in 2020.
Newly created positions are also increasing, as they made up 44% of all job vacancies in 2021, with more such roles in growth industries, such as information and communications, financial and insurances services, and professional services.
In comparison, jobs in service or production, such as manufacturing, food and beverage and accommodation, were usually replacements for existing roles.
However, numbers did fall slightly in accommodation, air transport and supporting services. The arts, entertainment and recreation industries also took slight hits, due to travel restrictions for the most part of 2021.
Overall, hiring and job vacancies have gone up, and in spite of talk about The Great Resignation, most Singaporeans are staying in their jobs. Outgoing Permanent Secretary for Manpower Aubeck Kam said, according to The Straits Times: “We are not seeing any overall uptick in resignation rates.”
“There are of course some sector variants, but nothing to suggest that there is anything of concern on that front.”
What jobs do employers need to be filled urgently?
The MOM report revealed the top 10 jobs for professionals, managers, executives and technical (PMET) that were in demand by employers, as well as the range of wages companies were offering for those roles.
Top 10 PMET Job Vacancies, 2021
|Rank||Job Role||Salary Range|
|1||Commercial and Marketing Sales Executive||$2,610-4,000|
|2||Software, Web and Multimedia Developer||$5,000-8,000|
|3||Operations Officer (Except Transport Operations)||$2,360-3,300|
|6||Business Development Manager||$5,575-9,400|
|8||Management and Business Consultant||$5,865-9,000|
|9||Industrial and Production Engineers||$3,400-5,500|
|10||Teaching and Training Professional||$2,800-7,800|
For these roles, employers revealed a lack of job applicants with the necessary skills and work experience, particularly for certain roles which require specialised technical knowledge. In addition, there has also been increased competition for such workers from other companies.
Manpower Minister Tan See Leng believes that with the economy picking up, employers should put in more resources in training and upskilling their available workers for the long term.
He added: “I would exhort all employers to try to accord more resources to do this in terms of upskilling, and… for prospective employers to adopt a plug, train and play mindset when hiring.”
For non-PMET job openings, the rise of e-commerce has led to increased demand for drivers of lorries, vans and light goods vehicles, the MOM report revealed. Other in-demand positions include construction labourers, sales assistants, cleaners and security guards, as can be seen below.
Top 10 Non-PMET Job Vacancies, 2021
|Rank||Job Role||Salary Range|
|2||Shop Sales Assistant||$1,400-1,838|
|4||Receptionist, Customer Service and Information Clerk||$1,900-2,500|
|7||General Office Clerk||$2,000-2,762|
|8||Heavy Truck and Lorry Driver||$2,300-3,000|
|9||Electrical and Electronic Equipment Assembler||$1,200-1,800|
While some Singaporeans have indicated certain reasons for not taking such roles, Minister Tan believes employers should also redesign jobs to help them hire more locals.
He referenced government schemes such as the Services Industry Transformation Programme, and the Jobs Growth Incentive for employers in the services sector, adding: “I don’t think we can go back to the old way of doing things without considering how to continue to innovate, how to continue to digitalise, and how to continue to use tech for some of the jobs to improve the productivity.”
Ultimately, as Singapore continues to ease its border restrictions, Minister Tan believes that our labour market will continue to maintain its momentum.
“With the recent easing of border restrictions and safe management measures, I am optimistic our labour market situation will hold steady in the coming months.”
“With your efforts, Singapore’s economy will emerge stronger from the Covid-19 pandemic”, he concluded.