Singapore - The numbers of job advertisements in the third quarter have increased by 5.2% compared to the previous quarter but the labour market is stabilising as companies review their headcount budgets.
In Singapore, demand for HR professionals has remained stable in the third quarter (Q3), according to the latest Robert Walters Asia Job Index survey. While hiring for the local accounting and finance sector remains steady, there has been an increased emphasised on candidates with governance expertise, in areas such as risk, compliance, audit and credit control. There is also an increased demand for candidates with specific skill sets such as in tax, financial planning and analysis and sales.
Demand is also rising for clerical and administrative staff, up 4.2% from last quarter's figures. These personnel are needed to support professionals hired earlier in the year.
Local candidates with specific product knowledge in areas such as derivatives and commodities trading have been in strong demand as overseas talent lack the necessary skills. But the resulting talent shortage has worsened with more graduates preferring to study law, accountancy or medicine. This has led to companies offering pay increases of up to 25% to some candidates.
Only industries that have seen a severe drop of over 10 percentage points in job demand from last quarter are logistics, consultancy and analyst sectors.
Andrea Ross, managing director of Robert Walters Singapore, said companies are gradually hiring more overseas candidates to cope with the lack of good local talent. Ross added that businesses using Singapore as the regional headquarters for their Asian operations are creating demand across digital media, biotech, renewable energy, pharmaceuticals and financial services sectors. This could lead to an increase in contract staff, she said, because candidates could take the "opportunity to gain exposure to industries or functions that may not be available on the permanent side".
On average, advertisements placed across Asia in Q3 increased by 72.3% compared with the same period last year. This is also a 12.7% increase from Q2. Japan is the highest, up 27.8%, China increased by 12.5% and Hong Kong up 3.8%. The results showed that employer confidence across most sectors is higher now, reaching the levels seen before the global financial downturn.
July was the strongest month for financial services, retail, engineering, property and IT sectors. The slight decline in job ads in August and September could be attributed to public holidays in some locations and a lull while employers reviewed their annual headcount budgets.
In Asia, bilingual candidates and those with specialist product skills and qualifications are commanding the highest salaries.
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