Close to 5,500 jobs available in S'pore's healthcare sector; 3 in 4 are long-term positions

Healthcare has been among the top sectors offering jobs and skills opportunities.
Healthcare has been among the top sectors offering jobs and skills opportunities.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Nearly 5,500 job openings are on offer in the healthcare sector, with three in four of them being long-term positions.

Close to 40 per cent - or 1,530 - of the 4,080 long-term jobs available are in professional and executive roles, such as nurses, allied health professionals, and finance and human resources executives. The other 2,550 long-term job openings are support roles such as healthcare assistants, therapy assistants and patient service associates.

Meanwhile, support and administrative support roles also make up 95 per cent - or 1,330 - of the 1,390 short-term jobs on offer. Close to 5 per cent - around 60 - of short-term jobs are for professionals and executives.

These 5,500 long- and short-term jobs are part of the 6,700 job, traineeship and training openings in the sector as at the end of last month, said the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) in its weekly jobs situation report on Thursday (Dec 10).

Apart from jobs, there are also about 470 company-hosted traineeships and attachments, as well as 760 training opportunities.

The long-term professional and executive roles include enrolled and registered nurses, who can earn between $3,300 and $5,200 a month, according to data on the gross monthly salaries of those who newly joined the healthcare sector in 2018, including experienced hires. The median monthly pay is $3,900.

The salary for allied health professionals is $4,100 to $5,000 a month, with a median of $4,400.

The long-term healthcare support jobs include roles such as patient service associates, who typically earn $2,400 to $3,000 monthly, with a median of $2,700. Healthcare assistants and therapy assistants earn between $1,800 and $2,300 each month, with a median of $2,100.

Healthcare has been among the top sectors offering jobs and skills opportunities.

More than 80 per cent of the job openings are offered by the public healthcare clusters such as SingHealth, National University Health System and National Healthcare Group, as well as community care organisations such as Ren Ci Hospital, Vanguard Healthcare and St Luke's Eldercare.

The rest are offered by private organisations including Parkway Hospitals Singapore, Healthway Medical Group and Q & M Dental Centre.

More than 8,000 placed in healthcare sector since April

The ministry said that about 8,350 people were placed into jobs, traineeships and training positions in the healthcare sector between April and last month.

About 93 per cent were placed into jobs, the majority of which were shorter term in nature, said the MOM. These include swabbers and swab assistants to support the Covid-19-related operations, as well as care ambassadors and patient concierge personnel attached to public healthcare institutions and community care organisations.

While some of these workers are still in their current roles, others have successfully transitioned into longer-term roles in the sector or other job opportunities that they have secured on their own, said the ministry.

It added that current workers can also consider switching into professional roles such as nursing or allied health by tapping the Professional Conversion Programmes (PCPs).

Singapore's healthcare sector is supported by a workforce of more than 100,000 people across both public and private sectors.

About 70 per cent of the workforce is made up of healthcare professionals such as doctors, nurses, dentists, pharmacists and allied health professionals, while the remaining 30 per cent comprises support care, administrative and ancillary workers.

The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has created temporary vacancies and manpower needs for a range of roles, such as swabbers and swab assistants to support increased testing operations. Care ambassadors are also needed to support hospital nurses, as they were redirected from their original duties to care for Covid-19 patients.

In addition, healthcare professionals including nurses and doctors, and supporting staff such as phlebotomists, were mobilised to serve at dedicated Covid-19 facilities and medical posts.

Long-term demand for healthcare workers rising

In the longer term, an ageing population and rising chronic disease incidence will drive demand for healthcare manpower. New healthcare facilities, such as integrated facilities, general hospitals, community hospitals and polyclinics, will progressively be developed.

The sector has been committing resources to expand the pipeline of fresh graduates and mid-career individuals, and offer opportunities to equip existing workers with updated skills, said Manpower Minister Josephine Teo at a virtual media conference.

The MOM said that the Government and industry has a three-pronged approach to help Singaporeans enter the healthcare sector and thrive in their careers.

The sector has been committing resources to expand the pipeline of fresh graduates and mid-career individuals, said Manpower Minister Josephine Teo. ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO

One way is through preparing existing students for careers in healthcare.

The Government has been working closely with institutes of higher learning to build a steady pipeline of local healthcare professionals. For instance, local nursing intake increased by about 50 per cent from 1,500 in 2014 to 2,200 to last year. New undergraduate allied health programmes such as dietetics and nutrition and speech and language therapy have been introduced in recent years.

Another approach taken is to support fresh graduates and mid-career job seekers without healthcare backgrounds to enter the sector.

Several initiatives are in place to do so, including career conversion programmes, training opportunities, and redesigning healthcare jobs that blend clinical support, administrative and operations responsibilities.

This comes amid rising interest among mid-career workers to switch to the healthcare sector during the pandemic. For instance, the number of applications for the PCP for registered nurses (diploma) in the October intake was about three times that of the April intake, the MOM said, without giving numbers.

The Government plans to open up training capacity of 900 places over the next three years to cater to mid-career switchers entering into nursing and allied health roles. But this may be adjusted depending on applicants' interest and participation rate.

Lastly, existing workers are given continuous training and development opportunities. These include training grants for healthcare professionals to take on skills attachment or formal post-graduate education opportunities.

Mrs Teo said: “When people think about whether they will take up a career in healthcare, they also see themselves not just as taking on any job. They see the meaning part of it, but they also know that it is a profession that demands very high level of commitment.”