SINGAPORE (Feb 20): In spite of government projects that suggest a slight drop in hiring growth this year, recruitment specialist Michael Page is expecting job growth to continue its steady momentum across 2019 due to talent shortages and high demand for niche talent, with a focus on fintech and e-payment roles.

For 2019, the firm estimates jobseekers can look forward to an average salary increase of 12-15% when switching jobs in similar industries. 

This is according to the annual 2019 Salary Benchmark Index released by Michael Page, which suggests that both large businesses and small- to medium-enterprises (SMEs) are showing a renewed confidence for positive growth and expansion in Singapore.

The latest report indicates Singapore is currently facing a shortage of skills for roles in artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, data science UI/UX, and digital transformation.

Further, with an expected local talent shortage of specialised e-commerce and digital marketing roles for 2019, Michael Page projects jobseekers within the digital sector will be able to secure a 10-15% salary increase when switching jobs of similar industries.

It also anticipates a “talent squeeze” due to an anticipated demand spike for quantitative traders in the financial services sector this year.

In the health sciences sector, Michael Page believes pharmaceuticals manufacturing roles will remain in demand this year, while firms seek to increase their investments in headcount for commercial sales and marketing roles.

Overall, the firm notes a growing acceptance of contracting as a strategic manpower solution across all industries considering the 20% increase in contract roles throughout 2018. Contracting for specialised technical roles is expected to increase by 20%, according to the index.

 “Despite renewed business confidence and investments in R&D, talent acquisition leaders continue to have a hard time finding and retaining quality talent, which has fuelled the dramatic increase in contracting roles,” comments Nilay Khandelwal, managing director, Michael Page Singapore.

“While skills will vary by market, some of the most-sought after traits across the board include operating quickly, being responsive and agile, and extracting fresh insights from piles of data - this is especially true in fintech and Ecommerce roles. Given the rapid pace of change, businesses in Singapore must be equipped to engage with a wider ecosystem surrounding an array of technologies as well as position themselves to take advantage of machine learning and artificial intelligence,” she adds.