Emerging from the labour market slump as unemployment eases post-COVID recovery, Singapore’s hiring outlook is on the mend with an upward trend in industries worst affected by COVID, as well as in COVID-proof jobs that continue to observe sustained strong demand in job postings in 2020 Q4 (October to December) according to the latest data from JobStreet.
Despite the availability of increased job openings, fewer candidates are applying for them. While candidates are more agile than before, JobStreet data has suggested that they may not be able to keep pace with the rate of change, which could be possibly due to the lack of awareness, education and skill gap.
In alignment with the Singapore government’s Budget 2021aim to boost employment and employability among locals, JobStreet’s upcoming Virtual Career Fair from 1– 11 March 2021 will be first of its kind, providing opportunities for jobseekers to interact live with over 40 employers including attending live job interviews and watching livestream of webinars. Seeking to empower job seekers and bridge the skills gap, over S$7 million worth of certified courses will also be made complimentary for SEEK Asia candidates in Asia, launching at the virtual career fair.
Major disruptions were widespread across all levels and sectors of the economy last year, especially during Q2 (April – June) due to the pandemic. While most companies operated on a “survival” mode in 2020 Q3 (July – September) such as undergoing cost cutting measures, companies have gradually progressed to the “sustenance” phase in 2020 Q4 where they are looking for opportunities for future growth.
Sectors worst hit by COVID such as Food/Beverage/Restaurant Service, Personal Care/Beauty/Fitness Service, and Sales – Retail/General saw encouraging recovery as companies proceed to backfill roles. Growth in jobs in these sectors grew over 3.8 times from Q2 to Q4 in 2020. In focus, F&B saw 3 times more job postings during the same period. With the shift toward the adoption of cloud kitchens, food delivery options and online subscription boxes, JobStreet observed more PMET openings in the sector (in Q4 compared Q2 in 2020) due to the adoption of automation and digital transformation.
Overall, there were 36% more jobs posted in Q4 compared to the peak of COVID in Q2 of 2020. However, applications only increased by 7% during the same period as candidates remain hesitant, preferring to practice caution in a fast-evolving job market. Of note is the growth in applications for the hardest hit industry that was five times more than the market. “The spike in application for COVID-hit industries is probably contributed by candidates who were impacted by the pandemic in the same sectors,” explains Ms. Chew Siew Mee, Country Manager, JobStreet Singapore.
With reference to JobStreet’s data illustrated in Table 1, Digital Marketing, E-commerce and IT sectors observed a stronger demand in job postings in 2020 Q4 as compared to pre-COVID in Q1. These evergreen jobs or COVID-proof roles are expected to continue thriving in the coming years as automation and digitalization take the centerstage.
On the other hand, healthcare industry has also been under the spotlight due to COVID-19. Apart from frontline doctors and nurses, there has been an increased demand for candidates in R&D, Biotechnology and Biomedical as these roles play an important part in developing new treatment methodologies and predicting diseases to improve lives. As an aging population, Singapore further makes these jobs sustainable even post-COVID.
Despite the availability of these job openings, fewer candidates are applying for them. JobStreet has identified candidate suitability as one of the factors underpinning this disconnect — a career switch often entails a steep learning curve and the need to pick up new skills. For example, demand for digital roles like cybersecurity, robotics, mobile app development and UI/UX are on the rise. However, these roles require job seekers to be equipped with specific skill sets, which they may not be adequately fitted with, causing applications to lag behind.
As a result, job creation of emerging and future roles has far outpaced the rate of applications as candidates hesitate on unfamiliar positions requiring new skills. Undermining job seekers’ confidence in the labour market to meet the demands of these future roles is a rising skills gap that JobStreet seeks to close with their Virtual Career Fair.
“The needs of the workplace is constantly evolving, especially with the disruption wrought by COVID-19,” says Siew Mee. “What we’ve learnt from the COVID-19 pandemic is that the modern employee must possess personal agility and be able to adapt to changes quickly. Companies are also increasingly looking for talent with problem-solving and emergency planning skills, according to a pattern we observed from recent job advertisements. Hence, employees must continuously acquire new transferable skills and expand their knowledge if they wish to stay relevant and boost their employability. As a career partner to jobseekers, we are offering jobseekers the opportunity to uplift their skills through registering for free emerging and transferrable skill courses, complete with certification.”
As the leading online job portal, JobStreet will be hosting the first of its kind Virtual Career Fair this March to connect candidates with #JobsThatMatter by surfacing available opportunities in sectors such as Hospitality and Service, Logistics, Communication and more. Aimed at empowering candidates through career coaching and skills upgrading, JobStreet’s Virtual Career Fair will be held from 1 to 11 March 2021, and feature the following:
|1 – 3 March 2021||Live interaction with Hirers and Career Coaches*|
|4 – 11 March 2021||Jobs will remain accessible for job seekers to apply to until 11 March 2021 but there will not be any live interactions happening from 4 – 11 March 2021.|
*Pre-register to get the latest details including list of employers, webinar schedules, and a chance to get selected for a 1-on-1 career coaching session.