For many workers, the pandemic has changed how we work. In particular, the gig economy has grown significantly.
Some gig workers became gig workers unexpectedly when faced with retrenchment while others become gig workers voluntarily to maintain autonomy of their own working environment. However, whether you joined the gig economy by choice or by circumstance, 2022 may be a good time for you to consider the switch to full-time employment.
The Job Growth Incentive Will Cease In 2022
First introduced in August 2020, the Jobs Growth Incentive (JGI) is a salary support scheme that encourages companies to hire workers. Specifically, companies can receive up to 15% or 50% salary support for hiring a new local (Singapore Citizen and Singapore Permanent Residents) for 6 or 12 months. This scheme is slated to end by March 2022.
While not a blank cheque for companies to hire, the JGI has made it more likely for companies to consider hiring an employee instead of continuing to outsource work to freelancers or third-partyZ agencies.
If you are a freelancer who has been providing your services to clients, 2022 may be a good time to consider taking on full-time employment if the opportunity arises.
Record Number Of Job Vacancies
Salary support isn’t the only reason why companies are incentivised to hire. According to MOM’s Labour Market report, Job vacancies are at an all-time high of 92,100 in June 2021. There were 163 job openings for every 100 unemployed persons.
While increase in job vacancies was partly contributed by the lack of manpower for Construction and Manufacturing which have been affected by the border restrictions, industries which have been doing well during the pandemic continue to have growing number of job vacancies. These industries include Financial and Insurance Services, Informations & Communications and Professional Services.
With more companies looking to hire, it may be a good time to think about converting your freelance gig into full-time employment, especially if you are already freelancing in these industries.
Salaries Are Expected To Rebound
With talent in short supply (as reflected by the number of job vacancies, salaries are also expected to rebound. According to Mercer’s 2021 Total Remuneration Survey, salaries are expected to increase by 3.5% in 2022.
Salaries are expected to increase across all 18 industries surveyed, with High Tech, Life Sciences and Aerospace expected to see the highest salary increases in 2022.
While the pandemic had imposed salary freezes and wage cuts for some, the trend appears to be reversing as business sentiment for 2022 remains positive with companies expecting to increase their overall payroll budget
With both job vacancies and salary increases expected to be high in 2022, especially in industries seeing high talent shortage, gig workers who are already working in these industries would be highly sought-after by employers. If salary was the main factor keeping you from full-time employment, 2022 may be a good time to negotiate an acceptable pay package.
Border Restrictions Are Likely To Continue
The talent pool is likely to remain constrained as border restrictions are likely to continue in 2022 as the pandemic continues. The latest Omicron variant, designated as a variant of concern, serves as a strong reminder that the pandemic is still ongoing even as we reopen our economic and resume our daily activities. This means that borders are likely to remain tightly controlled which would limit the pool of foreign manpower that companies can tap on to fill the growing job vacancies.
Economy Is Projected To Grow
Singapore is expected to experience around 7% GDP growth in 2021 and 3% to 5% GDP growth in 2022. With such positive economic outlook, it is unlikely that the government would be extending or expanding broad-based support measures as it did at the start of the pandemic.
During this pandemic, the government had implemented many broad support measures. While companies have received bulk of the support (e.g. through JSS and JGI), self-employed/ gig workers have also received some piece of the pie in form of SIRS, COVID-19 Recovery Grant and COVID-19 Driver Relief Fund (CDRF). This support has been tiered and tapered down over the course of the pandemic and we should not expect this to continue in 2022.
As the economy continues to grow, the government would likely target their support to groups who really need the support instead of implementing broad-based measures. For gig workers looking for some career stability, it may be worth taking the opportunity and effort to look for employment as Singapore’s economy improves.
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