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Job Vacancies Report 2023: Highest number of newly created jobs in five years; tech jobs still in demand despite layoffs

Vacancies for professionals, managers, executives, and technicians have increased in the past decade.
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By Nicolette Yeo 25 Mar 2024
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More new job positions were created in 2023, arising mainly from business expansion and restructuring in a tight labour market.


According to the Manpower Ministry’s Job Vacancies Report 2023 on 25 March 2024, the share of newly created positions rose from 38.7 per cent in 2022 to 47.3 per cent in 2023, the highest since the ministry started tracking job vacancies in 2018.


In December 2023 alone, there were 1.7 jobs for every jobseeker. After six consecutive quarters of decline, total job vacancies grew to 79,800.


Higher proportion of PMET vacancies


The report stated that PMET vacancies continued their upward trend over the last decade, growing from 39.2 per cent in 2013 to 57.2 per cent in 2023.


The ministry attributed the increase to the higher demand for workers in infocomm technology, financial and insurance services, professional services, and health and social services.


Despite the retrenchments in tech firms, tech-focused jobs continued to see strong demand, like 2022, for roles such as systems analysts, software, web and multimedia developers, and business development and sales professionals. The ministry said firms have been expanding their business and improving process efficiency.


Demand for registered and enrolled nurses remained strong in the healthcare sector as it continued to expand. PMET vacancies that were easier to fill included non-specialised management executives, operation research analysts, and administration managers.


Amidst a tight labour market, employers were more flexible when hiring.


For instance, employers were willing to pay more to fill positions in 2023 compared to the year before.


More employers were also open to hiring candidates with lower academic qualifications if they possessed the relevant experience, skills, or attitude. The number grew from 67.1 per cent in 2017 to 74.9 per cent in 2023, suggesting that employers were more willing to consider attributes beyond academic qualifications.


In his response on Facebook, NTUC Assistant Secretary-General Patrick Tay was heartened that employers are valuing skills, expertise and experience on top of academic qualifications.


"As the job market becomes increasingly competitive, soft skills will be our 'X-factor' in hiring and employment beyond technical skills and academic qualifications," he said.


Non-PMET vacancies on the decline


The report highlighted that the number of vacancies unfilled for at least six months declined in the last 10 years, reflecting the success of manpower crunch-easing initiatives in non-PMET jobs. Efforts included foreign manpower access, technology adoption, job redesign, skills upgrading and the Progressive Wage Model.


Non-PMET positions were easier to fill, including supervisors in building and related trades and shop sales assistants.


Continued focus on skills upgrading


Based on the uptrend in newly created positions, the ministry urged workers to upskill and reskill to seize the new opportunities.


The ministry encouraged employers to use Workforce Singapore’s Career Conversion Programmes to support companies' efforts to upskill workers. These programmes provide up to 90 per cent salary support for new or enhanced roles.


From 1 April 2024, employers can benefit from higher salary support caps of $5,000 for workers and $7,500 for those who are mature or long-term unemployed, receiving up to $45,000 per trainee for a typical six-month programme. The eligibility criteria will be expanded to cover all upskilling employees.


Employers can also receive a 20 per cent course fee subsidy under the SkillsFuture Mid-Career Enhanced Subsidy or Enhanced Training Support for small- and medium-sized enterprises. They can also consider the Jobs Transformation Map to learn how to redesign jobs and reskill workers. Around 16 JTMs have been completed, with four more upcoming in growth areas like Generative Artificial Intelligence and Sustainable Finance.


Mr Tay said that tripartite partners will continue to play a vital role in skills upgrading to help workers meet the challenges of cyclical and structural forces amidst technological advancements. He urged the Government to consider expanding the Career Conversion Programmes to keep pace with the ageing population, job and industry transformations, and evolving needs.


"Employers should continue to support their employees and workers in the skills acquisition and upgrading journey. Workers, too, need to be ready with new skills, relevant to the new and transformed jobs, and resilient to the new changes and curve balls," he added.


Because employers who offer more flexibility and are open to a broader talent pool can fill vacancies more easily, the ministry urged more companies to adopt skills-based hiring. To do so, employers can encourage their HR employees to take the Institute for Human Resource Professionals’ certification to keep abreast of the latest manpower policies.


MOM also urged employers who had trouble filling vacancies to improve the attractiveness of their jobs. For instance, they can consider tapping into the Support for Job Redesign under the Productivity Solutions Grant to create higher-value jobs or incorporate flexible work arrangements to appeal to job seekers with caregiving or other needs.


"Flexible work arrangements are another approach to enhance productivity, while attracting and retaining manpower. Besides telecommuting, companies can consider adopting flexi-time and flexi-load, such as part-time work, staggered hours, compressed work weeks, and job sharing," Mr Tay said.