The latest Job Situation Report released by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) on 7 October 2020, highlighted that the unemployment rate is now worse than during the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) in 2009 – when it was 3.3%. Although it is still better than the peak unemployment rate during the SARS period in 2003 – which tipped over 4.8%.
Source: MOM’s Job Situation Report 8th Edition (7 October)
While this was definitely not positive news, we can take heart from the fact that 117,500 committed opportunities under the SGUnited Jobs and Skills Package have been made available by end-August.
70% of the committed opportunities are for jobs, while the other 30% are for company-hosted opportunities and training positions.
Of the total committed opportunities currently, 25,500, or nearly 30%, have come after the last tally of 92,000 at end-July. Here are the 5 sectors that (are likely faring the best and) are in the best position to offer new openings.
#1 Information & Communications Sector
The information & Communications sector offered the highest number of opportunities (19,860) as at end-August. More than half of the opportunities are company-hosted opportunities and training places that potentially allow jobseekers without relevant experience to gain exposure and even take on permanent roles.
6,700 opportunities are for long-term jobs within the sector, indicating that companies are hiring with a view to expand.
#2 Healthcare Sector
It’s not surprising that the healthcare sector is holding strong – offering 9,240 opportunities – during the current COVID-19-led downturn.
It also isn’t’ surprising that the healthcare sector is offering the highest number of long-term jobs in Singapore too, with 6,850 opportunities. This means close to 75% of the opportunities on offer in the sector are for long-term jobs – which highlights the difficulty of those without experience to enter the sector, but also more positively, that it is relatively resilient.
Many of the long-term jobs on offer include nursing professionals, allied health and related professionals, dental assistants and healthcare assistants/care workers.
#3 Professional Services Sector
Being a knowledge-intensive country, it is also quite positive that the professional services sector is able to offer the 3rd highest number of opportunities in Singapore right now. A total of 7,610 opportunities are being offered in the sector currently.
What is maybe not clear is that the professional services sector may be a very broad classification, not letting us know which parts of the sector are doing well and which parts isn’t.
#4 Finance & Insurance Sector
Singapore is a financial hub. So, it’s good to know that the finance & insurance is the sector offering the 4thhighest number of openings – at 6,200 opportunities. This is despite the fact that the finance & insurance sector tends to be a highly regulated one.
More than half the opportunities on offer are also for long-term jobs.
#5 Manufacturing Sector
The manufacturing sector rounds up the top five sectors offering the highest number of opportunities, with 6,100 opportunities.
The sector is offering even more long-term jobs opportunities than the finance & insurance sector – 4,050 VS 3,730. While there is typically a lower barrier to entry into the manufacturing sector, many of the manufacturing companies here may be within higher value manufacturing, such as semi-conductor and precision manufacturing.
Bracing For Continued Tough Times In the Coming Months
Although the National Jobs Council has already exceeded the target of bringing together 100,00 jobs and skills opportunities (with a total of 117,500 already in place), there remains significant unfilled vacancies.
In total, there have been 33,100 placements into SGUnited Jobs and Skills opportunities, and 13,370 placements into long-term jobs offered under the SGUnited Jobs and Skills package.
Deviating from the top five sectors with the highest number of opportunities, the food services sector actually placed the highest number of jobseekers into long-term jobs. This includes restaurant managers, business development managers and bakers. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the healthcare sector placed the highest number of short-term opportunities.
While the increasing number of open opportunities is a good sign for the Singapore economy, it does not mask the fact that unemployment has gone up since last month. This may indicate that there may be an inertia for those out of a job to try new careers or that structural unemployment has left some too far behind.
What Employers Can do
Employers are encouraged to look beyond candidates with backgrounds that are an exact match. While it can be more challenging to transit such employees, who have a mismatch in skills, there are potentially many mid-career jobseekers with well-honed soft-skills and working experience that can add value.
Employers can also tap on government schemes, including the Jobs Growth Incentive (JGI) to bring forward hiring plans. Other government schemes also exist in the form of training subsidies to equip new employees with the skills required to succeed.
Need Financing Support During This Period?
From now till 31 March 2021, SMEs can enjoy extra financing support of up to $5 million through the Temporary Bridging Loan Programme.
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