1,300 jobs available in S'pore's logistics sector amid Covid-19 pandemic; 1 in 3 for PMETs

In 2019, the logistics industry contributed 1.4 per cent of Singapore's GDP. ST PHOTO: TIMOTHY DAVID

SINGAPORE - About 1,300 jobs are currently on offer in the logistics sector, with about one in three for professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs).

This makes up over 60 per cent of the more than 2,100 jobs and training openings available as at end-September, said the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) in its weekly jobs report on Tuesday (Oct 27).

The PMET jobs include roles such as regional business sales managers and business development managers, with monthly salaries of between $4,000 and $7,000, with a median of $5,000. Meanwhile, logistics managers earn about $3,700 to $7,250 a month, with a median of $5,500.

The bulk of the jobs - about 64 per cent - are non-PMET roles, as the sector requires a workforce to carry out functions such as warehousing, transportation, and value-added services like labelling and packaging.

These non-PMET jobs include transport clerks, who typically receive monthly salaries of $1,900 to $2,400, with a median of $2,175. Material and freight handling workers earn between $1,600 and $2,350 monthly, with a median of $2,050.

Apart from jobs, there are also about 510 company-hosted traineeships and attachments, as well as about 290 training opportunities available.

The ministry revealed that about 710 individuals have been placed into jobs, company-hosted traineeships and training openings in the logistics industry, between April to September.

Nearly 600 of them found jobs, of which over 40 per cent were mature workers.

Others have enrolled in attachments and traineeships such as in logistics analytics, software development, supply chain management and IT application since June.

Employers in the industry are open to jobseekers with working experience from other sectors, said Manpower Minister Josephine Teo.

Speaking after a visit to German logistics firm DB Schenker's The Red Lion facility in Changi, Mrs Teo noted that logistics firms serve a broad range of customers.

"So when they hire people from many different industries, they have actually got more points of connection with their clients, because they are more likely to be able to understand the clients' requirements and therefore to consider how they can update their products and services in order to meet the clients' needs," she added.

The effects of the pandemic on the industry have been uneven. It saw a severe reduction in airfreight capacity, a shortage of workers arising from border lockdowns, and reduced efficiency due to safe distancing measures.

Those serving hard-hit sectors such as aviation and aerospace were more adversely affected, while those providing e-commerce, last-mile fulfilment services and serving critical sectors such as healthcare saw a surge in demand for their services, said MOM.

Businesses that were able to adapt quickly to capture new business opportunities arising from the coronavirus situation also remained resilient.

For instance, changing consumer behaviour due to Covid-19 has accelerated the growth of e-commerce services and adoption of technology. Logistics firms such as Moovaz Logistics and Ninja Logistics are leveraging technology such as artificial intelligence and cloud computing to create new growth areas.

Fourth-party logistics providers such as DB Schenker and Pacific Logistics Group are also looking to capitalise on the growing demand for supply chain management services and solutions. These companies have embarked on business transformation and digitalisation projects to develop new capabilities, expand their capacity and prepare for post-pandemic recovery. To support these expansion and transformation efforts, these companies continued to hire despite the downturn.

Mrs Teo said the use of technology in the sector does not always mean that the jobs will be lost.

"By using more technology, the companies are able to operate more efficiently, they win more customers, and these customers can in turn be drawn to Singapore as an efficient and effective hub," she explained. "As a result of all these increased growth and the volume of business that we handle, in fact we may still end up having to use more people."

To support the manpower needs of the industry, Workforce Singapore has worked with logistics firms with hiring demand to take in workers from hard-hit sectors, such as aerospace, aviation and hotel sectors, on a secondment basis.

Between April and September, nearly 380 workers in hard-hit sectors were able to continue working through such arrangements.

For example, DB Schenker took in 21 logistics assistants, seconded workers from Razor Solutions, a subcontractor specialising in aviation ground operations.

On Tuesday, Mrs Teo, together with Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing, toured the DB Schenker's Red Lion facility and observed its automation systems, contract logistics, and airfreight operations. The $163 million high-tech warehouse, situated in the free-trade zone of the Airport Logistics Park of Singapore, is the firm's largest single investment globally.

In 2019, the logistics industry, a key pillar of Singapore's economy, contributed a value add of $6.8 billion - amounting to 1.4 per cent of the gross domestic product - and employed more than 86,000 workers.

Over the years, the Republic has built up and maintained its status as a leading logistics hub in Asia. The industry plays an important role in connecting supply chains to facilitate the flow of goods locally and abroad, supporting key industries such as food, electronics, pharmaceuticals, retail and construction.

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