Six most in-demand professions in Singapore for 2023

Looking at salaries across professions, about 80% of employees surveyed are more likely to request higher pay in 2023.

Concerns over the rising cost of living and a looming recession will see professionals in Singapore more likely to request, and expect their employers to consider, a pay increment for 2023, findings from the latest Robert Walters Salary Survey 2023 have shown. 

As companies continue to face a shortage of talent, especially among the managerial and senior-level positions, they are likely to double up efforts in staff retention initiatives, while one in two has considered the option of building a fully remote workforce, the survey added.

In line with that, talent looking to switch jobs may be receiving a 15-20% increase in salaries, with increments possibly reaching as high as 40% in talent-scare areas such as tech. While this is so, the survey notes that employees staying with their current companies will see their salaries "pegged to market standards." 

*Scroll below for a list of the most in-demand professions in 2023, as well as key trends in these areas.


What do employees really value?

Delving into the findings, the survey highlighted that of the 316 employees polled, about 80% said they are more likely to request a higher salary, while 71% expect their employers to consider the rising cost of living when evaluating pay increases or bonuses over the next 12 months. Meanwhile, more than 78% said they are willing to consider changing jobs in 2023 should their pay increments be lower than the inflation rate.

Keeping the above in mind, more than three in five (61%) respondents expect a pay rise of more than 6%. Yet, some are unlikely or unsure to get on the negotiation table in 2023, with the top reasons cited being:

  • not wanting to jeopardise job security (26%),
  • not knowing how to negotiate (18%), and
  • that the company was heavily impacted by COVID-19 (14%).

Top challenges employers are facing in hiring and retention

Employers from 105 companies involved in the survey were also asked to share their current concerns towards hiring and retaining employees – with 'finding the right talent' remaining a top concern for 92% surveyed. In particular, this shortage in talent and skills is observed most acutely at the senior/team lead (50%) as well as manager (24%) levels.

This aside, employers are also concerned about:

  • salary and benefit expectations being perceived to be too high (61%),
  • lack of applications (53%), and
  • lack of industry experience (46%).

Further findings include:

  • As companies sought alternatives to augment their talent pool and solve skill gaps, 47% of employer respondents have considered a fully remote/location-independent workforce.
  • 82% of employers surveyed are more likely to give pay rises in recognition of inflationary pressures, and 72% are likely to issue bonuses in 2023.
  • However, 72% expect that the rising cost of living will also make it harder for them to retain talent.
  • 65% of companies have proactively put in place measures to drive employee retention, with the most commonly adopted measures including hybrid work policies (75%), increased wellbeing initiatives (64%), improved employee benefits (57%), improved learning and development (55%) and pay reviews outside of the normal cycles (54%).

2023 talent and industry trends in Singapore

In addition to the above, the survey highlighted the key trends shaping the talent and industry landscape in Singapore in 2023.

Looking at jobs, for instance, the most in-demand professions in 2023 have been identified as:

Technology & transformation: software developers/data & analytics/ cloud automation & cyber security, digital transformation (SMEs), agile coaches/scrum masters.

  • Trends:
    • Demand for talent: very high
    • Apart from technical skills, companies are also on the lookout for individuals who can manage stakeholders, articulate their thoughts well, and be a good cultural fit.
    • Salaries are expected to increase by 20% for job movers.
    • Beyond salaries, there is likely to be a trend toward improving benefits to win top talent.
    • 73% of businesses are giving pay rises, while 67% of professionals expect a pay rise in 2023.
    • 60% of professionals are looking for a new job, and 70% are confident about job opportunities.
    • What talent value most: Excellent compensation & benefits, Flexible working arrangements, Inspiring colleagues and culture.

Banking & financial services: finance manager (fund/ private equity), investment operations, compliance data analytics.

  • Trends:
    • Demand for talent: very high
    • Digitalisation, digital banks, and new technologies, as well as ESG play a big role in the hiring market.
    • Regulatory bodies will create more hybrid roles (e.g., compliance data analytics) as they become more data-driven.
    • With global economic uncertainties, more contract roles are expected.
    • As work-from-home becomes more common place, soft skills such as communication, innovation, collaboration, and time management are seen as essential.
    • Skillsets in demand: Compliance data analytics, ESG risk, investment operations, finance manager funds, or private equity.
    • Incremental pay raises of over 20% will be the norm for in-demand roles.
    • 85% of businesses are giving pay rises, while 55% of professionals expect a pay rise in 2023.
    • 72% of professionals are looking for a new job, and 62% are confident about job opportunities.
    • What talent value most: Excellent compensation & benefits, flexible working arrangements, and job security.

Commerce finance: finance business partners at various levels, analytics finance project professionals, automation/ process improvement roles.

  • Trends:
    • Demand for talent: very high
    • Heavy demand for finance professionals who can understand different perspectives of the business and communicate/collaborate well with various functions. Finance business partners, analytics finance project professionals, finance controllers, and regional business controllers will be in demand.
    • Employers seek talent who possess hands-on experience in analytics software, as well as those with strong soft skills.
    • Talent with digital transformation experience in finance to fill roles related to automation and process improvement, financial planning and analysis skills will be sought after too.
    • Standard positions within finance functions can expect a 10-13% increment. Niche combination roles such as analytics and finance business partners can demand a slight premium.
    • 87% of businesses are giving pay rises, while 68% of professionals expect a pay rise in 2023.
    • 65% of professionals are looking for a new job, and 70% are confident about job opportunities.
    • What talent value most: Excellent compensation & benefits, Inspiring colleagues and culture, flexible work arrangements.

Human resources: talent acquisition/ recruitment specialist, executive assistant, office manager, secretarial, hr business partners.

  • Trends:
    • Difficulty in hiring talent: very high
    • Rise in HR professionals enrolling in data analytics, coaching, and leadership courses.
    • There will be demand for for talent acquisition specialists to manage volume hiring, and for experienced executive assistants, office managers and secretarial professionals to support senior leadership personnel for businesses that are setting up regional offices in Singapore.
    • Trend to continue: Companies building specialist teams to drive initiatives that promote equality, inclusion, and a sense of belonging as part of the workplace culture.
    • Possibly a 15-20% salary increment for HR professionals in talent acquisition, HR business partnering, and leadership positions mainly in the banking, technology, FMCG, and healthcare sectors.
    • 84% of businesses are giving pay rises, while 67% of professionals expect a pay rise in 2023.
    • 52% of professionals are looking for a new job, and 68% are confident about job opportunities.
    • What talent value most: Inspiring colleagues and culture, Excellent compensation and benefits, flexible working arrangements.

Sales & marketing: business development and sales/account management, e-commerce sales & marketing, digital and content creation marketing.

  • Trends:
    • Employers in this sector will focus on hiring local talent for most roles, and a bigger focus on diversity and inclusion in hiring.
    • More hiring is expected in health and wellness-related industries. Demand for positions related to the online space and customer or customer engagement will continue, as will the demand for professionals with skill sets in analytics, digital, e-commerce, CRM, performance marketing and omnichannel marketing. Proven sales professionals will also be in demand.
    • Skillsets in demand: Permanent roles: FMCG, retail, luxury and consumer technology, healthcare, professional services, industrial (business development, sales management, account management).
    • Contract roles: Social media marketing, campaign analytics, digital marketing, e-commerce, programme marketing, public relations and communications.
    • Talent who move jobs can expect an increment of 15-20% for permanent roles. Increments can exceed 30% in talent-short areas such as e-commerce account management.
    • 81% of businesses are giving pay rises, while 69% of professionals expect a pay rise in 2023.
    • 72% of professionals are looking for a new job, and 42% are confident about job opportunities.
    • What talent value most: Excellent compensation & benefits, Inspiring colleagues and culture, Open and effective management.

Supply chain & procurement: supply chain and procurement centre of excellence (COE), global logistics manager, demand planners, and order fulfilment/customer service specialists.

  • Trends:
    • A stronger emphasis on cost optimisation, process and continuous improvement will translate into a demand for corporate strategy talents and an increase in hybrid roles.
    • Roles in highest demand include global logistics managers, category managers, and leadership roles pertaining to supply chain and procurement centres of excellence.
    • Technical skill sets sought after include proficiency in SAP, Tableau, SQL, Power BI, AutoCAD for warehousing solutions designing, and master data management. ▪ Soft skills in business analysis, contract negotiation, digital transformation and automation, 3PL and vendor management, or process and continuous improvement frameworks.
    • Talent who move jobs can expect an increment of 15-20% for permanent roles.
    • 88% of businesses are giving pay rises, while 67% of professionals expect a pay rise in 2023.
    • 89% of professionals are looking for a new job, and 65% are confident about job opportunities.
    • What talent value most: Inspiring colleagues and culture, Job Security, Excellent compensation & benefits.

Robert Walters surveyed 316 candidates and 105 companies in Singapore in September 2022 to get feedback on their main expectations or concerns for the year to come with regard to salaries, career changes, or staff retention.

Salaries shown in the Robert Walters Salary Survey are based on an analysis of placements made across its network of offices and specialist disciplines during the course of 2022.


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