The labor market of Singapore reflected some signs of improvement in the third quarter of 2018 with fewer retrenchments and employment rate rising at the fastest rate in four years. However, various indicators show hiring may be slowing amid global uncertainties.
The latest data by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM shows that the total employment, excluding foreign domestic workers, rose by 16,700 and in all, there were 3,446,300 people working in Singapore in September, excluding foreign domestic workers. Higher-skilled sectors including professional services, information and communications, financial and insurance services, and community, social and personal services witnessed good employment growth.
With retrenchments falling to 2,860, down from 3,030 in the previous quarter and 3,400 in the third quarter of last year, fewer people lost their jobs in the third quarter. However, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for Singaporeans remained the same in September as in June at 3 percent.
In terms of employment opportunities, there were more than enough vacancies for job seekers in the third quarter, but the surplus dipped as labor market tightness started to ease. The seasonally adjusted ratio of vacancies to unemployed people was 1.05 in September, down from 1.1 in June.
While the labor market in Q3 looked good, the ministry expects the hiring momentum to slow down. Given the external trade tensions and slowing growth in Singapore's key final demand markets, the hiring momentum may be moderate. Despite the overall average demand there are a few sectors where the ministry expects some good opportunities to come up. These sectors include information and communications, financial and insurance services, healthcare, professional services, wholesale trade and built environment sectors as those where job opportunities remain good.
Job seekers must take note of these sectors and try and make most of the upcoming opportunities, the employers, on the other hand, have to focus on creating a strong employer brand strategy to be able to attract the most suitable talent from a huge talent market.