Job Market in Singapore Picks Up, Just Before the Annual Candidate Migration Season

April 11, 20178:47 am761 views

The job market in Singapore is picking up to reflect a more optimistic economic outlook and just in time for the annual candidate migration that follows bonus season, according to recruiting experts Hays in Singapore.

The Hays Quarterly Report, for the April to June quarter, shows that while some sectors remain cautious, others are planning to increase their levels of hiring beyond replacement roles.

“In the post bonus season, we expect more roles to come to market across the financial and management accountancy space and also across audit Risk and Compliance, especially as anti-money laundering initiatives remain a key area of focus for banks and other financial institutions,” explains Lynne Roeder, Managing Director for Hays in Singapore.

“The post bonus season always creates replacement hiring in Banking and Financial Services,but we are also seeing new roles being created. These include roles in the private banking sector focused on China and Chinese investment as well as trade finance roles in smaller banks,” says Lynne.

Banking and finance technology roles are also being created across the investment, corporate and private banking sectors, influenced by range of factors including regulatory change, a greater focus on cyber security and the Singaporean Government’s funding assistance for fintech startups.

“Project managers with excellent resumes are highly sought after in the financial technology space,” Lynne added. “However, successful candidates must have both solid technical knowledge and excellent stakeholder management skills, cost management skills and the ability to make multiple decisions almost simultaneously.”

Insurance is another lively sector for post bonus movement. Those with regulatory skills and experience are in high demand as well as candidates able to drive revenue such as business development managers.

In the architecture space, the number of roles for designers is on the rise as a range of Asian countries outsource large-scale projects to Singapore. Life Sciences is experiencing employment growth too, particularly in the food and nutrition sector.

Another ongoing trend is that some employers are looking to hire temporary and contract workers given the uncertainty in the global and regional landscape, and the challenge of securing permanent headcount.

According to the Hays Quarterly Report for April to June, demand is highest for the following skills and professionals:

Accountancy & Finance

  • Product control: Singapore will finally see an increase in demand for this skill set after a stagnant period due to the slump in investment banking.
  • Performance Management: Companies are very focused on cost management and planning for the future and this is driving up candidate demand.


  • Design Architects: Demand is rising due to many Asian countries outsourcing large-scale design projects to Singapore.
  • Architects for healthcare projects: Strong demand from the healthcare sector including hospital and medical campus projects.

Audit, Risk & Compliance

  • Sanctions, AML, CFT, KYC and CDD: Job roles in these areas are in high demand to join dedicated anti-money laundering departments.
  • Technology experts: Audit, Risk and Compliance candidates with strong technology skills are working on information security, cyber security and development work.
  • Audit, Risk and Compliance Analytics: Specialists are using analytics to help improve processes and reduce inefficiencies.

See: 56% Singaporean CIOs Believe IT and Data Security Roles Will Dominate the Job Market in 2017

Banking and Financial Services

  • Collateral Management and Margin Operations: Banks are looking to build their capability in this area to meet new regulatory demands
  • Trade finance: Smaller banks are hiring to fill front, middle and back office roles in trade finance


  • Construction/Project Managers: Major rail and healthcare projects keep construction/project managers candidates in high demand.
  • Tunnelling Engineers: Likewise, tunnelling engineers are in strong demand for road, rail and utilities tunnelling work.


  • Project Managers: Fairly senior roles that require system integration, business process re-engineering and organisational change experience are in demand for Q2 2017.
  • Banking Operations Associates: Strong AML/KYC candidates are needed for six to 12 month contracts at times of peak workloads.
  • Account Executives: Employers want flexible options to secure AP/AF/GL/Full Set junior accounting and finance staff.

Finance Technology

  • IT Project Managers: Roles are being generated for a diverse range of projects including change management, business transformation and regulatory compliance.
  • Big Data and Analytics: Banks in particular are hiring data scientists, data warehousing experts and business analysts.

Human Resources

  • Newly created regional roles: Companies continue to establish regional hubs in Singapore, thus creating new roles for senior HR leaders .
  • HR Project Managers: Singapore will see rise in HR project managers on a contract basis to implement specific initiatives.
  • HR Executives: You will see a significant increase in more junior roles due to considerable candidate movement.

Information Technology

  • Cyber Security Specialists: Digital security is a top priority in the Banking and Financial Services sector generating plenty of opportunities for candidates.
  • Pre Sales and Technical Sales: You will see strong demand from Singaporean companies focused on regional expansion.
  • Support and System Engineers: Employers need to back fill roles when candidates move but they are finding this very challenging.


  • Audit, Risk, Compliance: These roles are vital to help insurers meet increasing regulatory requirements as MAS continues.
  • Business Development Managers: This role is growing in importance as competition intensifies in the insurance space.
  • Underwriters and claims specialists: A role that is in constant demand, the hiring forecast remains strong this quarter.

Life Sciences

  • Quality Assurance/Quality Control: Increased investment in R&D plants, particularly in the food and nutrition sector is driving demand for experienced quality inspectors.
  • Flavourists: Demand for talent from Singapore’s large companies continues to outweigh supply in Singapore.
  • Medical Advisor/Medical Director: Medical teams are expanding in Singapore but also in other parts of the region.

Procurement & Supply Chain

  • E-logistics Leaders: Hiring continues in this area with MNCs focused on process improvements and other companies are following suit.
  • Procurement Analyst: Candidates are helping companies make savings through understanding of spending patterns across categories.
  • Planners and Inventory Management: Managing inventory closely is critical to companies achieving the goal of becoming a leaner operation.


  • Investment and Property Development Manager: Investors from China and Hong Kong are hiring local candidates to identify investment opportunities in Singapore.
  • Fit Out Managers: Demand for project managers with fit out experience.

Sales & Marketing

  • Key Account Manager: Experienced candidates are in demand to fill roles in major Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) organisations.
  • PR and Communications: Candidates with knowledge and skills in using social media remain hard to find.

Also read: Digital Shift: Employers in Singapore and APAC Grapple with Talent Acquisition and Retention

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