SINGAPORE (Jan 30): With stricter rules in place for hiring foreign talent, employers in the sales, banking, IT, marketing, project & change management industries will maintain their upward local hiring trajectory in 2019.

This is according to the Morgan McKinley 2019 Salary Guide for Singapore, which indicates a slight increase in hiring confidence in Singapore, the wider Asia Pacific region as well as across the globe.

In a press release on Wednesday, the global professional services recruiter says the overall hiring outlook remains positive with an increased demand in hiring Singaporean professionals – particularly those in the fintech, risk and security sectors.

In terms of skills in demand, it notes a growing trend for employees to be more IT-savvy due to disruptions in technology.

For instance, specialists with skills and experience in analytics, applications, data science and Internet of Things (IoT) are high on the list of hiring managers in the engineering industry.

Morgan McKinley also highlights that a good mix of data analytics – combined with managing creative campaign ideas to drive performance – is also what hiring managers are looking for when looking to fill marketing positions.

Accounting & finance sector candidates are preferred to have experience in regulatory reporting, while banks are increasingly looking to hire trade finance operations specialists.

At the same time, the firm emphasises that soft skills are not to be ignored.

For instance, it foresees a continued growth in hiring demand for senior change managers with solid transformation experience, considering how businesses are now becoming more cost-conscious while striving to adapt “new ways of working”.

Strong commercial talent with track records in building strategic partnerships with key stakeholders are also highly sought after by employers in Singapore, it adds.

“We expect hiring to remain active in 2019 especially across technology, banking, sales, marketing and change management where local talent have been highly sought after. At the same time, the market for contractors remained buoyant in 2018 and this trend is set to continue throughout 2019, with job seekers and organisations, viewing contracting as a potential opportunity to get into their preferred organisation and a means to address temporary workforce shortages,” says Gurj Sandhu, managing director of Morgan McKinley, Singapore.

“Competition for top talent will be fierce, and candidates should keep in mind that languages and softer skills will be key competitive advantages,” he adds.