February 18, 2019

Talent shortages, a cautious hiring outlook and a high demand for niche talent will continue to drive Singapore’s job growth across 2019, with a particular focus on fintech and epayment roles.

This is according to the annual 2019 Salary Benchmark Index released by Michael Page, a salary report developed to provide hiring managers and candidates with a reference on salary ranges across various job functions, including Finance, Technology, Digital, Legal and more. It provides an overview of market and employment trends with observations on job seekers’ sentiments, as well as highlighting hiring trends and roles in demand within each job function.

As reported by Michael Page, hiring in Singapore is likely to remain stable this year, despite government projections that suggest a slight drop in growth. This is mostly due to both large businesses and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) also showing a renewed confidence for positive growth and expansion in Singapore.

Fuelled by the Fintech boom, Singapore has retained its status as one of the major hubs for digital payments, including in emerging areas such as blockchain. The fintech industry in Asia Pacific is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 72.5% from 2015 to 2020, reaching US$72 billion, according to a Frost & Sullivan report.

According to insights from Michael Page there is a shortage of skills for roles in AI, machine learning, data science UI/UX and digital transformation. Businesses need to have sound strategies in place to attract and upskill key talent in Singapore’s tight labour market. Much of the onus also lies with the education bodies in Singapore to be able to train and produce top quality industry ready talent to be meet the needs of businesses. To address this, there has been a growing acceptance and adoption of contracting across most industries in Singapore. Contracting as a strategic manpower solution not only allows headcount increases during intensive periods, but also experimentation with new skills that could move businesses forward. These benefits are becoming increasingly apparent to both businesses and job-seekers, which has led to a 20% increase in contract roles throughout 2018, and continued growth expected in 2019.

“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. Singapore’s future lies in innovation and highly skilled talent, and this trend is something we will continue to witness across industries, including functions that have not typically subscribed to contracting strategies,” said 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.”

Top Hiring Trends For Digital in 2019

  • Shortage of specialised ecommerce and digital marketing local talent
  • C-suite talent that can drive digital strategy and growth to be in demand
  • 10 -15% salary increase when switching jobs of similar industries
  • Financial services, Ecommerce and telecommunications emerge as top industries to be dominated by digital


Top Hiring Trends For Financial Services in 2019

  • 5% increase in demand for talent in financial services over the last 12 months
  • Increase in demand for Quantitative Traders, resulting in a talent squeeze
  • Talent equipped with expertise in Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and software application systems most sought after


Top Hiring Trends For Health Sciences in 2019

  • 22% increase in demand for talent in the last 12 months
  • Pharmaceuticals manufacturing roles to remain in-demand
  • Increased investment in headcount for commercial sales and marketing roles