Pay support to speed up job offers in key sector: Minister

5,870 largely PMET jobs in professional services to benefit from jobs growth incentive

The impact of Covid-19 on the professional services industry has been uneven. ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

Even as Covid-19 continues to batter the economy, some 5,870 largely high-paying jobs have been on offer since April in professional services, which is a high-growth sector for Singapore.

Four in five of these roles are for professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs), Manpower Minister Josephine Teo said while sharing the seventh edition of her weekly jobs situation report yesterday.

The Government will offer substantial salary support under the jobs growth incentive scheme to encourage employers to bring forward their hiring plans and hire more local workers, she said.

It takes time to fill PMET vacancies. "We have noticed consistently for all of the SGUnited jobs that have been made available, for PMET roles, it takes a longer time for them to be filled, and this is not surprising because companies... are taking on a bigger commitment and they want to find the right fit," said Mrs Teo.

The jobs growth incentive, which lasts till February, could be a game changer. It would support two-thirds of the job opportunities in professional services - which covers architecture, engineering, consultancy, accountancy, design, advertising and marketing - if the eligibility criteria are met.

"This has already spurred firms that provide audit and advisory advice to hire additional Singaporeans in September," said Mrs Teo.

In addition to jobs, about 2,070 company-hosted traineeships and attachments and 1,080 training places have been available in the sector. "Even for firms that may not be ready to hire, they have graciously stepped forward to host fresh graduates or mid-career individuals in traineeships and attachment roles," said Mrs Teo.

So far, about 1,400 of the opportunities in the sector have been taken up.

Mrs Teo's weekly job reports, which started on Aug 11, have highlighted a total of 22,800 jobs and training opportunities in sectors such as manufacturing, biomedical science, tourism and food.

So far, about 4,230 people have been placed in these opportunities.

In yesterday's report, Mrs Teo noted that the impact of Covid-19 has been uneven in the professional services industry.

In architecture and engineering, for example, activity levels "fell sharply" as most construction works were put on hold during the circuit breaker period. And among law firms, about 70 per cent reported a decrease in work, according to a Law Society of Singapore survey, said Mrs Teo.

But consultancy, design, advertising and marketing services with digital expertise have been in demand due to the accelerated pace of digitalisation brought about by Covid-19, said Mrs Teo.

Specifically, in consultancy, there has been an increased demand for technology and cyber-security expertise, she added.

Meanwhile, the advertising and marketing sub-sector is seeing high demand for roles such as content strategists, community managers and commercial and marketing sales executives.

In design services, roles in user experience and user interface design are gaining prominence.

Separately, speaking at a visit to PwC Singapore, Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing said: "The professional services sector underpins our status as a business hub, and how well it does will also determine and shape the future trajectory of Singapore's growth."

But the sector had become globally connected, said Mr Chan, which meant that while Singaporeans could fight for business elsewhere, others could also fight for market share here.

To stay competitive, he said, Singapore would keep working on its network of free trade agreements to access other markets.

It would also seek to strengthen the capabilities of its workers.

Singaporeans, too, should try to seek overseas exposure in order to thrive in the professional services sector, said Mr Chan.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 02, 2020, with the headline Pay support to speed up job offers in key sector: Minister. Subscribe