Workers in Singapore across sectors will see mixed job prospects for next year, observers found. For example, those working in manufacturing and trade may face more uncertain job prospects given slower economic growth forecast, but opportunities are likely to remain good in sectors such as fintech and healthcare.
On Thursday (Nov 22), the Ministry of Trade and Industry said that economic expansion is expected to slow down to between 1.5 and 3.5 percent in 2019, partly due to the impact of the ongoing United States-China trade conflict. Meanwhile, the growth this year is estimated to come in at between 3 and 3.5 per cent.
Labour MP Patrick Tay also said that there is unlikely to be a sharp decline in jobs available next year, although much will depend on how the trade conflict and Brexit pan out. An assistant secretary-general at the National Trades Union Congress, Mr Tay added that as a lot of companies are making diversification, there is more activity in Asia and ASEAN.
Despite the growing trend, however, the manufacturing sector is likely to remain stable at best while construction will remain weak, said SIM Global Education senior economics lecturer Tan Khay Boon.
Electronics companies are already tightening their budgets and being cautious in spending, said Mr Tan Richard, general secretary of the United Workers of Electronics and Electrical Industries. Although this is expected to continue next year, most companies are still trying to pay good bonuses to employees, Straits Times reports.
Meanwhile, experts said that workers in the services sector are projected to fare better. For example, Singapore FinTech Association president Chia Hock Lai said that the impact of global uncertainty on hiring is minimal in the fintech industry. Most financial institutions are looking to innovate and will need people with digital, innovation and technology skills next year.
When it comes to pay prospects, recruiters forecasted a mixed picture, with good salary growth calculation for in-demand skills and jobs. Jobs in analytics, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, fintech and cloud computing will see a pay rise at around 8 to 10 percent, said Adecco Singapore country manager Mark Hall. Education and healthcare are other areas where hiring should continue, however, workers overall may see increments of around 3 to 5 percent, he said.
ECA International regional director for Asia Lee Quane said Singapore employees can expect to see a real salary increase of 2.6 percent next year, down from 2.9 percent this year. Next year’s projection is also slightly lower than the Asia Pacific average of 2.7 percent.
Workers need to look at whether their productivity has gone up enough to justify a pay increase, said Singapore Manufacturing Federation president Douglas Foo, a Nominated MP.
“If the general sentiment is poor, they should re-skill and upgrade to prepare for the next upturn,” he said.