SINGAPORE - The labour market remains tight, with more than two positions available for every unemployed person in Singapore.
In its labour market report for 2021, released on Monday (March 14), the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said 117,100 vacancies were available last December.
The figure translates to a ratio of 211 positions available for every 100 unemployed people in Singapore. This is an increase over the 195 positions available for every 100 unemployed persons observed in September 2021.
The high number of job openings was driven in part by travel restrictions impacting the inflow of migrant workers.
But there was also robust demand from growth sectors and nascent demand from consumer-facing sectors, MOM noted, attributing the increased vacancies to growing business optimism as the economy rebounds from the Covid-19 pandemic.
The manufacturing and construction sectors, which rely more heavily on migrant workers, accounted for 23 per cent of total vacancies, mainly for non-professional, managerial, executive and technical (PMET) positions.
MOM noted that the non-resident employment level as at end-2021 was still markedly lower than pre-pandemic levels.
"Even though non-resident employment grew for the first time in two years in (the fourth quarter of) 2021, the increase was insufficient to meet the manpower needs of sectors which rely more heavily on non-resident workers," said MOM.
"However, with the gradual easing of these restrictions, we expect non-resident workforce numbers to improve in 2022, and job vacancies in sectors with heavier reliance on migrant workers to abate," it added.
Job openings also increased for growth sectors such as information and communications, financial services and professional services, which continue to see robust resident employment growth.
MOM said these growth sectors made up 18 per cent of total employment in the fourth quarter of 2021, yet accounted for 28 per cent of total vacancies, almost all of which were PMET positions.
Job vacancies in the consumer-facing sectors of retail and food and beverage services also "trended up" to form 11 per cent of total vacancies, it said.
Employers with job openings displayed a growing appetite as well, noted the ministry.
"Among companies with job vacancies in December 2021, about half reported a net increase in their job vacancy number compared to September 2021," it said.