Fewer job openings last year; about half were for PMETs: MOM

The office crowd in the Central Business District in Singapore.
The office crowd in the Central Business District in Singapore.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - The share of job vacancies for professionals, managers, executives and technicans (PMETs) rose to about half of job vacancies last year, as the economy restructures.

The 48 per cent figure is up from about 40 per cent in 2013, according to the latest report released by the Manpower Ministry on Tuesday (Feb 7).

Vacancies refer to job openings for which employers are actively recruiting employees outside their companies.

Most of the PMET vacancies come from sectors such as community, social and personal services; financial and insurance services; professional services; and information and communications.

In particular, the three occupations with the highest unmet demand for workers were teaching and training professionals (2,100 vacancies), management executives (1,210) and software, web and multimedia developers (1,150).

The non-PMET vacancies came mainly from accommodation and food services; administrative and support services; and wholesale and retail trade. The people most in demand were shop sales assistants (2,720 vacancies), security guards (2,280) and receptionists, customer service and information clerks (1,400).

Non-PMET openings were generally harder to fill than those for PMETs and typically have higher turnover. More than half of the non-PMET openings were unfilled for at least six months, in particular among service and sales workers.

"Working conditions such as longer working hours, shift work and (the) physically strenuous job nature continued to make these openings unattractive to locals," said the ministry in its report.

On the other hand, only about two in 10 PMET positions were unfilled for at least six months. These included openings for software, web and multimedia developers - which employers attributed to candidates lacking the necessary work experience and specialised skills - as well as registered nurses and enrolled or assistant nurses - which employers attributed to unattractive pay and shift work.

Overall, the number of job vacancies has been shrinking over the past two years, amid a slower economy and push for productivity.

There were 53,800 jobs up for grabs as of end-September last year, down from 60,000 the year before and a peak of 67,400 in 2014.

It was easier last year for employers to fill vacancies compared with the year before. The number of openings which employers reported as "hard to fill by locals" fell from 35,000 in 2015 to 31,290 last year.