hiring and skills landscape in singapore

Over the past year, employers have been more likely to hire candidates for IT & digital (55%) which is 10% more than the previous year, and for human resources (32%) which is 15% more than in 2020. 

More than three in four (76%) employers in Singapore revealed they are looking to hire as they are optimistic about the local job market situation, based on NTUC LearningHub’s Emerging Jobs and Skills report. In fact, close to seven in 10 (65%) have actually been hiring - if not - are intending to hire new talent to meet their company’s current business goals.

The report, which involved inputs from 200 employers taken at the start of December 2021 across six industries such as manufacturing, built environment, and trade & connectivity, revealed some of the top roles they are looking to fill are in:

  • Data science - in which 54% of employers are hiring talent for positions in data analysis;
  • Marketing - in which 45% of employers are hiring talent to fill positions in digital marketing, and
  • Business & sales - in which 45% of employers are hiring talent to take up jobs in strategy & operations.

In addition, analysts found close to all employers (98%) agree that there is a greater need for employees in hybrid roles to meet their business objectives in the next two years, as such about eight in 10 (79%) employers are looking to hire talent with a broader set of skills to take up hybrid roles in the next two years. That is, however, not all - according to other findings, employers said they would also prefer the incoming talent to have critical core skills such as adaptability (52%), and technology skills like data analysis (49%) as these are deemed "important for their business".

Moving away from the hiring landscape, it is noteworthy almost half (49%) of employers shared that ‘reskilling and upskilling employees with relevant skills’ is a key strategy to focus on amidst the COVID-19 storm. Meanwhile, more than half believe that ‘reskilling and upskilling employees’ is the top consequence of digital transformation, and four in 10 (40%) of employers hold the view that technology adoption ‘only leads to upskilling or reskilling, and not to layoffs’.

In the same vein, close to eight in 10 (78%) employers, however, find it difficult to fill roles due to a shortage of talent with the relevant skills. To manage that, near nine in 10 (85%) employers have been training or intending to train existing employees to meet current business goals, and approximately three in five plan to use a mix of both internal and external training to upskill and reskill the workforce in the next two years.

Overall sectoral outlook

Delving deeper into the hiring landscape findings, employers in manufacturing (87%) are the most optimistic about the Singapore job market. This is followed by those in trade & connectivity, and essential domestic services (80%). That said, employers in modern services which is defined as those in professional services, ICT & media, and financial services (67%) are the least optimistic about the job market. Interestingly, however, employers in modern services (77%) are the most likely to hire new talent to meet their company’s current business goals - this is followed by manufacturing (73%) and essential domestic services (73%). Employers in lifestyle (50%) are, on the other hand, the least likely to hire new talent.

Departments where hiring would occur

As a whole, employers are "more willing" to hire across departments compared to the previous year (2020). For instance, in 2021, employers were more likely to hire candidates for IT & digital (55%) which is 10% more than the previous year, and for human resources (32%) which is 15% more than 2020. Other departments where hiring would occur are: business operations (43%); leadership & management (35%), and product development (34%).

Roles where hiring would occur

For data science, report findings revealed that other than data analysis (54%), as aforementioned, data visualisation (42%) and probability & statistics (34%) are the next top job roles employers are looking to fill. The trio is then followed by machine learning (32%), big data (31%), and data management (29%). The remaining roles are as follows:

  1. Business intelligence analysis;
  2. Artificial intelligence;
  3. Data mining, and
  4. Data modelling.

For marketing, other than digital marketing (45%), as aforementioned, digital strategy (41%) and social media marketing (32%) are the next job roles employers are looking to fill. Following them are roles in public relations (30%), product marketing (29%), and content marketing (26%). The remaining roles are as follows:

  1. Brand management;
  2. Digital community management;
  3. Account management, and
  4. Media planning.

With regard to business & sales, other than strategy & operations (45%), as aforementioned, leadership management (29%) and market research (25%) are respectively the second and third job roles employers are looking to fill. Roles like business development (25%), e-commerce (23%), and human resources (22%) follow closely behind. The remaining roles are as follows:

  1. Management analysis (20%);
  2. Sales (18%);
  3. Partnerships (18%), and
  4. Customer success (18%).

Overall skills outlook

Shifting the focus to talent's skills, beyond critical core skills such as adaptability (52%), employers are also looking at developing people (48%), and collaboration (44%) when hiring. Some other core skills include:

  • Communication (43%);
  • Creative thinking (42%);
  • Problem solving (40%);
  • Decision making (37%);
  • Learning agility (36%);
  • Digital fluency (32%), and
  • Global perspective (29%).

As for technology skills, other than data analysis (49%), employers are also looking at cybersecurity (45%), digital marketing (44%), and project management (42%) when hiring. Some other technology skills include:

  • Artifical intelligence/machine learning (41%);
  • Data-driven decision making (35%);
  • Basic IT support (30%);
  • Governance, risk management & personal data protection (28%);
  • Web/app design & development (28%), and
  • Robotic process automation (24%).

Sectoral outlook

Those who are interested in the manufacturing sector - which is defined as those in electronics, marine & offshore, aerospace, and energy & chemicals - can note that close to nine in 10 (87%) employers are optimistic about the Singapore job market, and thus looking to hire. However, more than eight in 10 (83%) employers find it difficult to fill roles due to a shortage of talent with the relevant skills. Further, almost all (97%) indicate that their company will increase digitalisation to "an extent" at work to achieve stronger business outcomes - which shows the importance of technology skills.

  • Top three departments hiring: IT & digital, business operations, and leadership & management
  • Top three job roles to fill: strategy & operations, brand management, and data analysis
  • Top three critical skills: adaptability, collaboration, and developing people
  • Top three technology skills: project management, data-driven decision making, and robotic process automation

For the built environment sector - which is defined as those in construction, real estate, environmental services, and security - we learn that more than seven in 10 (73%) employers are optimistic about the Singapore job market, and thus looking to hire. However, close to eight in 10 (77%) employers find it difficult to fill roles due to a shortage of talent with the relevant skills. Additionally, nine in 10 (90%) indicate that their company will increase digitalisation to "an extent" at work to achieve stronger business outcomes.

  • Top three departments hiring: leadership & management, business operations, and product development
  • Top three job roles to fill: management analysis, data analysis, account management
  • Top three critical skills: adaptability, decision making, problem solving
  • Top three technology skills: cybersecurity, basic IT support, project management

For the trade & connectivity sector - which is defined as those in air, sea, & land transport, logistics, and wholesale trade - we can be aware that eight in 10 (80%) employers are optimistic about the Singapore job market, and thus looking to hire. That said, close to three in four (73%) employers find it difficult to fill roles due to a shortage of talent with the relevant skills. On top of that, nine in 10 (90%) indicate that their company will increase digitalisation to "an extent" at work to achieve stronger business outcomes.

  • Top three departments hiring: business operations, product development, and IT & digital
  • Top three job roles to fill: strategy & operations, data analysis, and data visualisation
  • Top three critical skills: transdisciplinary thinking, sense making, and collaboration
  • Top three technology skills: artificial intelligence/machine learning, data-driven decision making, and cybersecurity

For those in the essential services sector - which is defined as those in healthcare and education - they can note that eight in 10 (80%) employers are optimistic about the Singapore job market, and thus looking to hire. Equally, eight in 10 (80%) employers find it difficult to fill roles due to a shortage of talent with the relevant skills. What is interesting to note is all employers (100%) - the highest amongst the sectors - indicate that their company will increase digitalisation to "an extent" at work to achieve stronger business outcomes.

  • Top three departments hiring: IT & digital, business operations, and leadership & management
  • Top three job roles to fill: data visualisation, data management, and data analysis
  • Top three critical skills: developing people, decision making, and adaptability
  • Top three technology skills: data analysis, governance, risk management & personal data protection, and artificial intelligence/machine learning

For the modern services sector - which is defined as those in professional services, ICT & media, and financial services - we learn that only close to seven in 10 (67%) employers are optimistic about the Singapore job market, and thus looking to hire. This is, according to the report, the lowest amongst the sectors. That said, close to nine in 10 (87%) employers find it difficult to fill roles due to a shortage of talent with the relevant skills. And, almost all (96%) indicate that their company will increase digitalisation to "an extent" at work to achieve stronger business outcomes.

  • Top three departments hiring: IT & digital, human resources, and leadership & management
  • Top three job roles to fill: data analysis, digital marketing, and big data
  • Top three critical skills: collaboration, developing people, and learning agility
  • Top three technology skills: cybersecurity, data analysis, and artificial intelligence/machine learning

With regard to the lifestyle sector - which is defined as those in food services, food manufacturing, retail, and hotels - we can be aware that more than seven in 10 (71%) employers are optimistic about the Singapore job market, and thus looking to hire. Similarly, seven in 10 (70%) employers find it difficult to fill roles due to a shortage of talent with the relevant skills. On a separate note, nine in 10 (90%) employers indicate that their company will increase digitalisation to "an extent" at work to achieve stronger business outcomes.

  • Top three departments hiring: IT & digital, sales, and business operations
  • Top three job roles to fill: data analysis, E-Commerce, and digital marketing
  • Top three critical skills: adaptability, communication, and problem solving
  • Top three technology skills: project management, digital marketing, and data analysis

Image / NTUC LearningHub

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