Jobseekers can breathe a sigh of relief at Michael Page Singapore’s latest talent trend report, which predicts that four in 10 local companies intend to increase their headcount numbers in 2021. This followed a steep 35% drop in hiring activity in Singapore in 2020 as a result of the Covid-19 recession. 

“Singapore’s economy has turned a corner and remains a stable, secure and trusted hub, with seamless connections. As the economy recovers, investment into the market will flourish, and that would drive the demand for talent amid the business recovery climate,” remarks Michael Page Singapore’s managing director Nilay Khandelwal. 

The report notes that job creation in Singapore’s technology sector is the main driver of employment growth. Businesses have had to ramp up technological capabilities in the wake of Covid-19 to ensure business continuity, buoying the performance of tech firms. 

Sectors earmarked for the greatest hiring activity in 2021 are technology & telecommunications, banking & financial services, industrial & manufacturing, FMCG as well as professional services. In addition, the report finds that Technology, Sales & Marketing, Finance & Accounting, Logistics & Supply Chain and Human Resources were the top five job types in terms of hiring activity. 

The report says that 41% of  employers intend to provide their employees with salary increases in 2021 despite Singapore’s 5-7% economic contraction in 2020. 45% of firms also intend to give out bonus payments to workers as well. 

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But 2021 will also likely see employers prioritising short-term contractors/temporary employment as they look to bridge skill gaps from growing investment in digital tools. Spiking in end-2020 - especially in digital, procurement and technology due to closed borders - firms will be looking to continue this policy as they make more strategic recruitment plans and hire for the future. 

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With firms looking to continue upgrading and digitising their businesses, they may have to pay a premium on technology professionals skilled in data engineering, data visualisation, software development and cybersecurity. 8 in 10 of such professionals state remuneration as their top consideration when assessing a job offer. 

Nilay Khandelwal advises, “Tech professionals are currently in great demand, hence it is pertinent for employers to ensure they are not a part of a talent auction process and are paying in line with market standards to attract the right talent. In addition to remuneration and brand reputation, tech stack exposure is an important factor to attract top tech talent in Singapore.” 

Change and continuity 
Despite all the hype about the future economy, LinkedIn’s Jobs on the Rise report stable demand for traditional roles in businesses. Jobs functions like finance, business development and customer service have sometimes even seen headcount expansion. 

According to the professional social media platform, this is especially among firms who have seen greater demand for their products during the pandemic. Customer service professionals have been particularly important in dealing with customer feedback in uncertain times. 

The care economy has also seen a surge in demand for frontline healthcare professionals such as doctors, nurses and general healthcare professionals due to the pandemic. This builds on already rising long-term demand due to an ageing population and medical tourism. Varying areas of expertise such as mental health and social work are increasingly in demand. 

The migration of education online has also seen increased demand for educators with digital skills. As many workers found themselves retrenched from the pandemic, LinkedIn says that there was a growing demand for coaches skilled in communication and providing career and life advice as workers sought to make a pivot in their career trajectory. 

To take advantage of these new opportunities, workers must be willing to reskill themselves to ready themselves for new roles. “A lifelong learning mindset is crucial for professionals looking to develop themselves and adapt to the workforce of the future. Workers who are equipped with digital skills — even at a basic level — will have an edge in finding employment opportunities,” the LinkedIn report concludes