SINGAPORE (Jan 19): Singapore saw a significant drop in both jobs and job seekers this current Q4, according to Morgan McKinley’s APAC Employment Monitor for 4Q17.

As compared to a strong performance in Q3, jobs were down by 20%, while professionals seeking new jobs were down 37% q-o-q.

Richie Holliday, COO of Morgan McKinley Asia Pacific says, “Despite closing the year with a low performance, the financial services market in Singapore was stronger in 2017 than 2016.”

In 2016, hiring in the fintech sector strengthened and hiring in traditional financial services roles reduced. But 2017 saw the opposite.

Specifically hiring in trading, corporate finance, mergers and acquisitions and private banking was high.

“Any private banker interested in working can get a job, bonuses and all, in Singapore," says Holliday.

Although shrinking because of the government’s restrictive visa policies, Singapore continues to have a disproportionately large expat workforce.

Meanwhile, contractor hiring globally has increased by 22% y-o-y, but positions slid downward along with the standard seasonal trajectory q-o-q.

By nature, contractor work is more responsive to seasonal and economic shifts, so the fluctuation matches our expectations,” says Holliday.

Regional data has shown that contractor figures provide an overview that is informed by the vastly different business climates of the individual countries. For example, contractor positions in Sydney are highly regarded and well integrated into business models, whereas in Singapore contractor positions are seen as inferior to full time positions.

According to findings from the APAC Employment Monitor, many companies are moving portions of their business out of Singapore, which may cause a cultural shift to take place.

Contractors play a large role in managing those transitions.

“Contractors save businesses a lot of money while providing workers with a rapid professional growth path, so their popularity will continue to increase and normalise in countries that have thus far been slower to embrace them,” says Holliday.

To sum it up, 2017 was a strong employment year for the Asia Pacific region, especially in the financial services sector.