Wages for high-skilled jobs in Singapore rising faster than before: Hays

Office workers at Raffles Place on Feb 18, 2015.
Office workers at Raffles Place on Feb 18, 2015. ST PHOTO: DANIEL NEO

SINGAPORE - Wages in high-skilled industries such as engineering and technology are being driven higher, as employers here find it harder to find highly-skilled workers , says a recruitment firm.

Also, the talent pool here often doesn't have the skills employers want, leading to both higher rates of vacancies and unemployment here, Hays also said.

The Hays Global Skills Index, which assesses the ability of labour markets in 31 countries to supply skilled labour, was released on Tuesday (Sept 29). It was produced by Hays in collaboration with Oxford Economics.

Overall, local wages are increasing much quicker than historically seen. The score for 'overall wage pressure' here rose significantly from 1.3 last year to 5.8 this year. A score close to 0 indicates little to no pressure, while a score close to 10 shows severe pressure.

Wages for workers with specialised technical skills, or who are highly educated and experienced, are rising much quicker than those in low-skill industries relative to the past, Ms Lynne Roeder, managing director of Hays in Singapore, said in a statement.

"Growing technical skill shortages (and) government initiatives that endorse local Singaporean hires for middle income jobs have exacerbated the shortage of talented locals, as the huge increase in overall wage pressure shows".

The job market here, however, was "highly active", she said. This was due to Singapore's ability to attract multinational corporations to set up regional operations here, and the "sheer number of construction and infrastructure projects".

"Our advice to employers therefore is to use a range of innovative attraction strategies, not just salary increases, to keep recruitment plans intact," she added.

Most of Singapore's labour force is already employed, Hays added. This meant that the available talent pool couldn't be increased in great numbers.