Tech talent shortage shows up in job mismatches

The job market these days is a bit like a Goldilocks breakfast - piping hot for those in the tech field but icy cold for people seeking work in areas like customer service, said a job portal.

The imbalance has been measured by employment site Indeed, which analysed job postings and resume updates in February.

It found that customer service representatives, drivers and teachers faced the most shortage of job opportunities, while talent shortage was most acute for software engineers, sales executives and business development managers.

"When the pool of jobseekers isn't aligned with employer needs, businesses may be forced to lower requirements for skills or experience, while jobseekers might accept positions that don't fully utilise their skills or education," said Indeed economist Callam Pickering.

Indeed analysed on a monthly basis resumes updated on its site. In all, it looked at about 380,000 resumes updated since January 2015. The most recent job title was used to classify each resume under an occupation. The posts advertising positions were also classified into occupations.

To calculate the mismatch between demand and supply of workers, Indeed found the proportion of job postings for an occupation out of all available positions. It then noted the proportion of resumes for that occupation out of all resumes and compared the figures, Mr Pickering told The Straits Times.

For instance, a particular job may account for 5 per cent of advertised posts but only 2 per cent of resumes, leading to a mismatch of 3 percentage points. The bigger the difference in percentage points, the larger the mismatch.

Institute for Human Resource Professionals chief executive Mayank Parekh said it is surprising that there was an oversupply of candidates for jobs with lower educational requirements such as customer service staff and drivers.

One reason could be that companies which need such workers are outsourcing the positions to intermediaries such as courier companies for drivers, or specialist firms which do not post on job sites as they have their own recruiting channels, he said. "Another explanation could be the proliferation of freelancer websites in recent years to do the matching between employers and the skills they need," added Mr Parekh.

Singapore Human Resources Institute president Low Peck Kem also noted that the mismatch stems from new jobs tending to be more technology-based and higher-skilled compared with the current skill levels of jobseekers.

"That is why it is important to invest in skill upgrading to keep up and remain relevant," she said.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 16, 2019, with the headline Tech talent shortage shows up in job mismatches. Subscribe