Job vacancies reached a high of 56,400 last September, according to a report released on Monday by the Manpower Ministry.
Service and sales workers - from sales assistants and waiters to security guards and cashiers - were most in demand. There were 12,430 such vacancies, forming almost a quarter of all openings. Associate professionals and technicians accounted for 17 per cent of openings, and professionals accounted for 15 per cent.
The number of vacancies left empty for six months or more also rose, representing 40 per cent of all vacancies, up from 35 per cent a year before. Most of these were for service and sales workers, and cleaners, labourers and related workers.
Bosses reported difficulties in finding locals for two-thirds of all vacancies. The most common reasons for this were unattractive pay and physically strenuous jobs. This reflected "the predominance of lower-end occupations among the hard-to-fill vacancies," said the report.