This year, there was an overall increase in hiring activity in the Singapore market, notably in the technology and financial services sector. This was due to the continued drive by organisations to understand and adopt new technology in a bid to innovate and stay ahead of the competition.
Moving into 2019, there will still be high demand for tech professionals. This is driven by established organisations advancing their digital transformations, and the expansion and entry of tech giants into the market and the growth of tech start-ups. Companies are also going to be increasingly exploring emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning and the Internet of Things (IoT), resulting in a greater need for tech professionals in these niche areas.
According to a report by Robert Walters, jobs are evolving to become more analytical and data driven, increasing demand for candidates who can marry digital skills with industry expertise to drive the business. Companies are now actively seeking sales and marketing professionals who could leverage data and metrics to generate insights about customers and their preferences. It added that in 2019, digitalisation will remain a major focus of many organisations in Singapore. Therefore, talent with strong industry expertise and the relevant digital skills will remain highly sought after.
Meanwhile, in the tech sector, professionals with expertise in applications, infrastructure, and project and change management will continue to be in demand. Companies will also look to fill specialist roles in data analytics, data science, cyber security, UI/UX design and more.
Sales and marketing sector
In 2019, Robert Walters says the market can expect an increasing demand for sales and marketing professionals with big data, digital, e-commerce and transformation experience, as companies continue its digitalisation efforts. Hiring managers are also expected to struggle to secure sales professionals who have strong prospecting abilities, due to high demand for such talent.
In 2018, digital marketing professionals were in high demand across all sectors, with new roles created due to changing consumer habits. Recruitment levels remained healthy across the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG), healthcare, industrial, professional services, retail and travel sectors as well. Given the saturated market, pharmaceutical and medical devices companies are looking for sales and marketing professionals who are able to go beyond traditional sales, business development and marketing to help their business stand out from the competition. Candidates with multiple skill sets, particularly in consulting, digital marketing and project management, will be highly sought after but expensive due to the shortage of such talent.
Moreover, the industrial space will continue to see an injection of talent and resources within marketing and internal communications as organisations introduce more employee retention initiatives. The government’s continued push to recruit local talent will see competition for Singaporeans and permanent residents remain strong.
Versatile sales and marketing professionals with skill sets bridging multiple functions will continue to be in high demand.
The report said that hiring managers should be open with candidates throughout the recruitment process, sharing feedback and expected timelines. In addition, hiring managers should showcase opportunities for exposure, learning and career development to attract and retain the best candidates.
“Hiring managers should expect good potential candidates to receive attractive counter-offers as companies increasingly look to retain their top talent. We advise employers to be swift and decisive, and maintain good communication throughout the recruitment process to ensure candidates remain engaged, interested and committed,” Robert Walters said. Meanwhile, salaries were stable in 2018 and will likely remain stable in 2019.
The market will see salary increments of about 20% for job movers in digital roles, given the shortage of such talent.
Technology and transformation sector
In 2018, Robert Walters saw active recruitment for tech professionals across all sectors. Government investment in technology and the local start-up ecosystem continued to fuel the growth of start-ups which, in turn, encouraged established firms and organisations to accelerate its digital transformation programs. Companies are exploring emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, and are looking for data scientists and architects to help manage its data.
However, with the shortage of skilled domestic talent, employers may have to look overseas to secure the talent they need. Robert Walters also said that it encourages employers, particularly larger organisations, to act decisively when hiring. Smaller tech firms often have a shorter recruitment process which gives it an advantage in securing talent. “Employers should also display genuine interest in candidates and their career plans, as the best talent is always looking for opportunities to learn and grow,” the report added.
Tech hiring in commerce sectors remained strong in 2018, with particularly high demand in the e-commerce, media, consultancy, healthcare, insurance, logistics and payments industries. In 2019, the report said that hiring levels look set to remain high. Tech professionals with skill sets and experience related to analytics, applications, data science, the Internet of Things (IoT), private cloud and UI/UX design will be in high demand. Cyber security professionals are also in demand, as companies look to strengthen its security after a recent chain of high-profile cyber attacks within the country. As the talents will look for hands-on exposure to the latest technologies to up-skill themselves, Robert Walters said that hiring managers should showcase such opportunities.
Meanwhile, companies, particularly start-ups, are looking to reduce costs.
As such, salary offers are likely to remain relatively stable, with minimal increments of 5-15% for traditional IT roles.
However, larger increments are expected for candidates with niche skill sets.