Singapore's job market is steadily rising back to pre-COVID levels, according to the latest report from JobStreet - and there's a mismatch between the jobs on offer and what job seekers are actually looking for.
The figures in the report, derived from the number of job ads posted on JobStreet's platform, indicate that the demand for talent is highest in the banking & finance and education industries, which saw job ads increase by 55% and 54% respectively in the first three quarters of the year. JobStreet analysts attribute the growth to these sectors being quick to digitalise their core operations. Healthcare, biotech, and pharma have also seen significant growth in job openings.
However, what these industries want doesn't necessarily align with what job seekers have to offer, partly because job roles have evolved to increasingly specialised work, and those non-specialist jobs on offer are frequently entry-level or otherwise junior. This creates a dichotomy across many industries whereby the jobs available are either high-value or low-value, with not much middle ground. For instance, while the growth in banking and finance jobs is attributed mainly to senior manager roles, the growth in healthcare and manufacturing jobs comes from entry-level roles. And of course, technology-related sectors, especially IT, see the highest demand for specialist talent.
Chew Siew Mee, Managing Director of JobStreet Singapore, said: “It is an undeniable fact that Singapore is facing a war for talent, as more roles require a certain level of specialist expertise. This is especially true in popular industries like Banking & Finance, Healthcare and Education, as well as emerging sectors like Computer / IT."
At the same time, border restrictions combined with expatriates returning home during the pandemic means companies have not been able to turn to foreign talent to fill their job openings.
On the bright side, the report forecasts an influx of job applications as the restrictions ease in coming months, meaning that employers may be less strapped for talent than expected. But that doesn't mean hiring organisations can go back to business as usual. Salaries are already up, especially in high-demand sectors like IT. And employers are having to work on their branding to make themselves attractive to the much-coveted specialist talent.
"Candidates are now looking to get more out of their careers and want to lead more fulfilling and productive working lives," Chew observed. "Aside from opportunities for upward mobility, it is also important to candidates that potential companies have values that align with theirs — such as workers' rights, diversity and inclusion.”