Financial services, healthcare among sectors to see strongest job growth in 2019: report

FINANCIAL services and healthcare are among sectors poised to see the strongest job growth in Singapore this year, the latest research by recruitment agency Kelly Services shows.

Other industries include accounting, banking and finance, customer service, as well as engineering and technical. 

According to Kelly Services' 2019 Singapore Salary Guide, Singapore's accounting sector remains primed for growth, with 2,000 new jobs set to be created by 2020.

"With traditional administrative and finance functions increasingly automated, the accountant of the future will need to adapt to higher-value work and take on more strategic roles," Kelly Services said. The hottest jobs under this sector include accounts assistants, finance executives and financial analysts. 

Similarly, the recruitment firm noted that statistics by the Ministry of Manpower show that financial services was one of the key drivers of employment growth in the first quarter this year. 

"In financial services, the government has set a target of creating 3,000 jobs from 2018 to 2020, with an additional 1,000 jobs per year expected to come from the thriving fintech sector.

"Concurrently, the sector is focusing on the adoption of technologies including blockchain and AI (artificial intelligence) to strengthen the country's digital transformation efforts. The country's blockchain-friendly environment has also drawn numerous foreign startups to Singapore," Kelly Services said. 

The hottest jobs under this sector include compliance officer, risk analyst and client relationship manager.

Meanwhile, over at the healthcare and life sciences sector, Singapore will need to almost double its pool of existing long-term care workers by 2020 to support its ageing population, the report stated. 

"To meet this urgent need, the sector must overcome several challenges, such as misaligned salary expectations and lack of manpower... when medical records are fully digitised in the next few years, upskilling and reskilling will be imperative for healthcare workers and patient service associates."

Among other professions, jobs that will be in demand under this industry include medical sales representative, radiographer and staff nurse. 

In addition, jobs that require a human touch, such as customer service, should continue to see strong demand, the report highlighted. "At Budget 2019, the government introduced several measures to reduce the sector's dependency on foreign manpower, including a reduction in the foreign worker quota to 35 per cent by 2021."

Lastly, the report also pointed out that the manufacturing sector remained the largest contributor to Singapore's economy, primarily supported by the electronics, transport engineering and biomedical manufacturing sectors.

However, many engineering vacancies today go unfulfilled, due to a shortfall in local workforce supply and engineers leaving the profession, Kelly Services said. 

To boost workforce training and development for the Built Environment sector, the government has committed S$72 million until 2020, and vocations that will be in demand this year include application engineer, maintenance technician, as well as health & safety engineer, the report stated. 

Taken together, the increase in employment opportunities will be driven by stronger demand for services, coupled with a decline in manpower and specific skill sets, Kelly Services said. It added that landing these in-demand roles will require job seekers to possess a combination of hard and soft skills.

"As organisations across various industries accelerate their digital transformation journeys, communication, analytics, digital, and change management skills will help employees take on more strategic roles. Those with blockchain skills and AI expertise will also be highly sought-after, especially in the banking and finance sector," the recruitment firm noted. 

Said Foo See Yang, managing director and country head at Kelly Services Singapore: "Digital disruption is impacting all facets of Singapore's economy – right down to the workforce. To find success in the digital age, we need a reskilling and upskilling revolution. This talent will find better wage and employment opportunities, regardless of level or industry."

On the back of heightened global uncertainties, Singapore is expecting a slight decline in overall economic growth this year, Kelly Services said. The firm also noted that labour growth outlook remains modest in the years ahead, due to underlying demographics of an ageing population and low birth rates. 

Added Mr Foo: "Amid challenging labour market conditions and the talent crunch, our 2019 Q1 APAC Workforce Insights found several groups of workers that companies may tap into – mature workers, returning mothers, and people with disabilities or special needs.

"These workers can be valuable assets to the workforce, especially for sectors that face challenges in finding local workers."