40% of S'pore-based employers plan to hire more staff: Survey

SINGAPORE – Almost half of all Singapore-based employers plan to increase headcount this year, with a significant number looking for people with information technology or IT capabilities, a survey noted yesterday.

It found that 40 per cent of employers polled cited plans to increase their workforces this year, indicating an optimistic recovery path.

This stands in sharp contrast to the mood last year, when hiring dipped 35 per cent during the height of the pandemic and the resultant economic stress.

But the poll results from recruitment firm Michael Page Singapore suggests a corner has been turned.

“As the economy recovers, investment into the market will flourish, and that would drive the demand for talent amid the business recovery climate,” noted managing director Nilay Khandelwal.

The report said the sectors earmarked for highest hiring activity are technology and telecommunications, banking and financial services, industrial and manufacturing, consumer segments and professional services.

It noted that job creation in the tech field is driving the uptick in employment.

“Many businesses in Singapore were not ready for the new normal when technology capabilities had to ramp up quickly to ensure business continuity during the pandemic,” it stated.

“To that end, Singapore’s fintech and e-commerce sectors became role models for everybody else. These sectors, in particular, remained buoyant throughout 2020, thus becoming good examples for non-technology businesses to follow suit.”

There will be a further drive to upgrade and digitise businesses this year with tech professionals skilled in data engineering, data visualisation, software developing and cybersecurity in the most demand.

The report found that 80 per cent of tech professionals put remuneration and benefits as their top consideration when accepting a job offer.

Singapore has attracted strong inflow of tech investments and start-ups over the past year, thanks to its prime location at the crossroads of Asia’s biggest markets, low business tax, a well-developed IT infrastructure, strong investment opportunities and robust regulatory regime.

Start-ups like Grab, Ninjavan and others have been busy raising funds over the past year despite the pandemic. In addition, larger global players like Tencent, Bytedance and Amercan big techs have also been investing and hiring here. DeepTech start up fund-raising has also been increasing steadily.

Given the increasing competition for these high-potential professionals, Mr Khandelwal cautioned against a talent bidding wage war, which could put upward pressure on costs.

“Tech professionals are currently in great demand, hence it is pertinent for employers to ensure they are not a part of a talent auction process and are paying in line with market standards to attract the right talent,” he said.

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