The pandemic has significantly impacted the Singapore job landscape, as companies scrambled to adjust to the various government mandates aimed at mitigating the spread of the virus. While there were numerous job losses, there were also new job opportunities that arose from the crisis.
As evident in JobStreet’s 2021 Job Report, in-demand jobs in Singapore now include roles in industries that played a massive role during the pandemic. At a recent career event, Minister for Culture, Community, and Youth Edwin Tong said that more opportunities are available in the healthcare and tech sectors. There is also a greater demand for social workers who can help Singaporeans through this global crisis.
Job seekers looking to find new opportunities or switch careers may find the roles they want in these industries. Fortunately, Singapore’s job landscape is gradually recovering towards pre-pandemic levels, based on Jobstreet’s data from the latest report.
Tech skills needed for in-demand jobs in Singapore
Thanks to high vaccination rates – 84% of the population are fully vaccinated as of October 2021—and COVID-19 support funds for businesses, Singapore is now seeing a strong job vacancy and declining unemployment rate.
Banking & finance and education saw significant increases in job ads during Q1-Q3 2021, rising by 147% and 112.6% respectively. Biotech and pharma saw continued growth throughout the pandemic, with job ads rising by 102.8% in Q1-Q3 2021.
Industries such as automobile, food and beverages (F&B) and manufacturing are poised for strong growth as the economy continues to recover. However, industries related to travel – aerospace, tourism and hospitality — are poised for modest growth due to ongoing pandemic restrictions.
The impact of COVID may vary from industry to industry. But what all these sectors have in common is a high demand for tech-related talent. The pandemic has accelerated digitalisation initiatives, resulting in demand surges for individuals specialising in technology.
Banking & Finance – Job ads for specialisation computer/IT (software) in this industry have increased by 5 times compared to the previous year. According to a survey by the Monetary Authority of Singapore and the Institute of Banking, there are 6,000 newly created positions in this sector, with half of them in technology and consumer banking.
Biotech & Pharma – These industries saw a 102.8% increase in job ads in Q1-Q3 2021 compared to the previous year. Reports show that Singapore’s biotech sector is at an inflexion point, with biomedical sciences becoming significant to the development of the manufacturing sector.
Education – The pandemic has created opportunities for the e-learning market. As a result, job supply numbers for this industry in the computer/IT and engineering specialisation grew by over 100% since last year.
Manufacturing – The sector saw a strong hiring recovery, with job ads rising by 41.5% in Q1-Q3. This may be partly due to the demand surge for digital goods and services that help individuals stay connected remotely during the pandemic.
Computer/IT – Employers are competing to hire local computer/IT talent due to border restrictions limiting incoming foreign labour. Despite the 30.5% job ad increase, local Singaporeans only make up one-third of an estimated 25,000 tech workers.
But digitalisation is not a new trend. Some sectors, such as banking and financial services, have been looking to acquire tech talent even before the pandemic hit. For the education industry, there was a push for IR4.0 education for science, computer/IT, engineering and education specialisations.
The Future of Work
IR4.0 stands for Industry 4.0, or the fourth industrial revolution. It refers to the transformation of industrial production processes through digitalisation, or the use of technology to optimise work. It also involves the blurring between biological, physical and digital – machines “speak” to each other, processes “think” through algorithms, and humans have “conversations” with mechanics.
The pandemic has accelerated interest in IR4.0 technologies and concepts, and more industries are developing plans to ready themselves for the future. According to the World Economic Forum (WEF), as the adoption of technology grows, more people will need to reskill to adapt. According to WEF’s Future of Jobs report, 50% of all employees will need reskilling by 2025.
The Singapore government, through SkillsFuture, has partnered with established tech companies like Microsoft, SMRT and Kwong Wai Shiu Hospital, to help smaller firms strengthen their digital capabilities. Minister of State for Manpower and Education Gan Siow Huang said that digitalising and retraining workers in Singapore are crucial to allow companies to survive future disruptions or another pandemic.
Job skills that can help you prep for the future
In JobStreet’s 2021 Job Report, the top specialisations reflected some alignment with the WEF list on the top 10 job skills of 2025. The study sought the views of global business leaders – CEOs, chief strategy officers and chief HR officers – to find out which skills and skills groups are most in-demand by 2025. These are:
Analytical thinking and innovation
Active learning and learning strategies
Critical thinking and analysis
Creativity, originality and initiative
Leadership and social influence
Technology use, monitoring and control
Technology design and programming
Resilience, stress tolerance and flexibility
Reasoning, problem-solving and ideation
Critical thinking and analysis skills, as well as problem-solving skills, have stayed at the top of the list every year. Demand for self-management skills, such as active learning, resilience, stress tolerance and flexibility emerged in 2020. The pandemic highlighted the importance of well-being when managing remote and hybrid work.
The report also highlighted top cross-cutting, specialised skills, or skills that are applicable and easily transferable across many roles:
Software Development Life Cycle
Data Storage Technologies
How to start upskilling for a better career
You’ll find that most of the top skills for the future are soft skills – behaviours, traits and work habits that help people succeed at work. According to workforce futurist and author Alexandra Levit, soft skills give individuals “career durability,” which helps one become an engaged and productive member of the team.
At the same time, employers find that hiring employees with technical skills is essential. Career coach Martin Yate notes that the surge of technology in the workplace requires employees to pursue ongoing development of technical skills and proficiency to survive at work.
So whether you’ve decided to change careers, or continue driving your career forward, upskilling and reskilling is very important to your professional development. Having a lifelong learning mindset will prepare you for the constantly evolving future of work. Here are some tips on how to start upskilling for your professional development:
Assess yourself. Evaluate your current work situation – what motivates you? What are you good at? What interests you? Figuring these things out can help you create a solid plan to help you further your career. You can use our free downloadable Career Planner as a guide.
Figure out your transferable skills. Building on the transferable skills you already have is a quick way to improve yourself. By being aware of the tasks you do that enable these skills, you can figure out how to continue sharpening them and turning them into your strengths.
Look up courses. There are many resources online that offer classes or training sessions in the comfort of your home. MySkillsFuture, for example, has a variety of courses that teach both soft and technical skills. Singaporeans aged 25 and above have an opening credit of SGD 500 to help them get started.
Check with your employer. Employers in Singapore are encouraged to support the professional development of their people through training. SkillsFutureSG even offers funding support for employers who sponsor their employees’ training. Inquire with your HR rep about the opportunities available to you.
Check out our Career Resources page for more tips on how you can boost your professional development. It also offers expert insights and advice that could help you on your career journey.