Q3 job market 'lifted by tech sector'

Singapore's job market received a significant boost from the fast- growing technology sector in the third quarter, according to two separate reports released last week.

They found that techies were more in demand here than professionals in administrative or human resource roles, for example.

According to the Monster Employment Index (MEI) Singapore by online employment site Monster.com, there was a 13 per cent hike in hiring activity in the information technology, telecom and business process outsourcing sectors between October last year and the same month this year.

The steepest drop of 9 per cent was in the banking, financial services and insurance sector, said MEI - a monthly gauge of online job posting activity culled from career websites and job listings.

Professionals in software, hardware and telecom jobs were in great demand, while those in administration and human resource roles registered a fall of  11 per cent.

"As Singapore's economy continues to go through a prolonged downturn and broader market sentiments remain dampened, it is unlikely that overall hiring activity will pick up any time soon," said Mr Sanjay Modi, managing director of Monster.com (Asia-Pacific and Middle East).

"The economy's exposure to some of the hardest-hit sectors, such as oil and gas, coupled with the sequential decline in GDP are also partly responsible for this sluggish hiring," he added.

The other study - The Asia Job Index - was published by international recruitment consultancy Robert Walters. It tracked job advertising volumes for professional positions across leading job boards and national newspapers in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Malaysia and Singapore over the last three months.

"The slight decrease in job advertisement volumes in Singapore was reflective of a changing economy. Sectors like manufacturing, residential property and shipping have come under duress as companies undergo restructuring to cut costs," said Mr Toby Fowlston, managing director of Robert Walters South-east Asia section.

"However, there has been positive growth in the technology and e-commerce field as businesses improve customer engagement and shore up their security practices, resulting in more job opportunities."

The Government's plans to boost the local start-up ecosystem led to a 24 per cent jump in recruitment activity for the information technology job market, the report found. There was also demand for professionals with experience in tackling financial crime, the study said, but human resource teams in Singapore were getting leaner.

There was a 36 per cent drop in job opportunities for merchandising and purchasing functions as firms moved to lower-cost locations outside Singapore, according to the findings.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 06, 2016, with the headline 'Q3 job market 'lifted by tech sector''. Print Edition | Subscribe