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Hiring trends in Singapore you need to know about

Hiring trends in Singapore you need to know about

Like the year prior (2021), the information & communications (infocomm) sector (69%) continues to have the highest proportion of vacancies for new positions.

The good news - employers in Singapore have faced less difficulty filling vacancies over the past year, as border restrictions were lifted, and it became easier for employers to backfill positions vacated by non-residents during the height of the pandemic. The proportion of vacancies unfilled for at least six months declined to 27% in 2022, from 35% in 2021, the lowest so far.

The opportunity - like the year prior (2021), the information & communications (infocomm) sector (69%) had the highest proportion of vacancies for new positions, whereby employers who face challenges filling them commonly cite unattractive pay, as well as a lack of necessary skills and work experience, particularly for positions which require specialised technical knowledge.

Overall, PMET vacancies formed the majority of the available vacancies in 2022 (56%), reflecting demand for skilled workers from the sectors of information & communications, financial & insurance services, professional services, and health & social services.

This is all data courtesy Singapore's Manpower Research and Statistics Department (MSD), which has launched its Job Vacancies 2022 report, that takes stock of the type and nature of positions that employers in the nation are looking to fill, the type of jobs in demand, and difficulties in filling these jobs. A total of 15,500 establishments employing 2,070,700 employees responded to 2022 survey.

Among a wealth of insights valuable to recruiters and employers operating in and for Singapore, we've pulled out the 10 hiring trends you can track from 2022 well into 2023:

1. Infocomm continues to have the highest proportion of vacancies for new positions

This, the report stated, reflects the industry’s dynamism in innovating and restructuring to keep pace with rapid technological changes. The other sectors that saw higher shares of vacancies for new positions, indicating that firms are redesigning jobs and adopt new business models, are: food & beverage (F&B) services, retail trade, and cleaning & landscaping. 

In the F&B sector particularly, secular trends such as the shift toward hybrid work arrangements and online spending have accelerated. This has led to a substantial shift in spending from physical to online channels, and a redistribution of food & beverage spending toward the heartlands. 

2. Share of PMET job vacancies on the rise, possibly due to demand from growth sectors

The proportion of PMET vacancies (i.e vacancies for professionals, managers, executives, and technicians) edged upwards (from 53% in 2021 to 56% in 2022), a continuation of the broad uptrend observed pre-COVID.

Per the report, this increase reflects "firm manpower demand from the growth sectors", namely infocomm, financial & insurance services, professional services, and health & social services. In fact, together, these sectors accounted for 51% of all PMET job vacancies in 2022.

Correspondingly, there has been a decline in the non-PMET share of vacancies (from 47% in 2021 to 44% in 2022). This number, however, remained slightly higher than the pre-pandemic share in 2019 (42%) as employers have not fully backfilled all positions previously held by migrant workers.

3. Possibility of work done remotely lowers

The report found fewer vacancies for jobs that can be done remotely as more workplace activities resumed on-site, in-office operations. The number of vacancies which involved work that can be done remotely fell from 31% in 2021 to 21% in 2022. "This reflects a normalisation of remote work trends as more workplace activities resumed on-site when pandemic-related restrictions eased in 2022," stated the report.

As is expected, PMET positions still presented a higher possibility of remote working than non-PMET position. In 2022, 37% of PMET vacancies could be done remotely, and for non-PMET vacancies, the share was much lower at 3% as physical presence was required for most or all functions.

In fact, there were some sectors where remote work was not prevalent across occupations due to the nature of work in the industry. For example, in construction, less than 10% of vacancies were for jobs that can be done remotely, including those seeking PMETs, as the work commonly requires onsite operation and maintenance.

4. Sectors of opportunity where vacancies have remained unfilled

Overall, the number of vacancies unfilled for six months or more fell from 35% in 2021 to 27% in 2022 as a result of the active backfilling of non-PMET vacancies in manufacturing and construction sector. This improvement was also seen in the sectors of cleaning & landscaping, security & investigation, F&B services, and wholesale & retail trade, reflecting efforts to redesign jobs to make them more attractive to resident jobseekers.

However, this decline was not applicable across all sectors. These include sectors such as transportation & storage (44%), as well as accommodation & food services (38%), which were unable to fill their vacancies for at least six months in 2022. 

Highest shares of PMET vacancies unfilled for six months in 2022:

  • 19% from professional services,
  • 17% from health & social services,
  • 6% from information & communications, and
  • 5% from financial & insurance services.
  • The remaining vacancies were distributed across several industries.

Top industries’ share of non-PMET vacancies unfilled for six months or more in 2022:

  • 16% from F&B services,
  • 15% from transportation & storage,
  • 15% from construction,
  • 11% from manufacturing, and
  • 10% from wholesale & retail trade.
  • Waiters, construction labourers, bus drivers, cleaners and shop sales assistants were the top non-PMET jobs that were unfilled for at least six months.

For non-PMET positions that were unfilled for extended periods, employers commonly indicated reasons such as a physically strenuous job nature, non-conductive work environment, and unattractive pay.

On this topic, Minister of Manpower, Dr Tan See Leng commented: "The Government continues to support employers to redesign jobs to increase its appeal, and to adopt a skills-based approach to hiring that considers a wider pool of candidates."

mrsd pmet vacancies


All images / MRSD

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