Job openings in Singapore outnumber jobseekers despite 'softening' economy

Employers are finding it hard to fill vacancies and the absolute number of job vacancies has been declining over the last year.

Despite a softening economy, the number of jobseekers in Singapore is still outnumbered by the vacancies, the latest employment report by the government showed.

The report, however, says employers are finding it hard to fill vacancies and that the absolute number of job vacancies has been declining over the last year.

The number of vacancies as of September was 60,000, a decline in the absolute number of jobs available, the Ministry of Manpower said in a report.

However, there were still 116 openings for every 100 job seekers in the September quarter. There is a decline in this ratio, though, with 121 jobs available for every 100 applicants in June and 143 in the March quarter.

The report said the overall decline in vacancies was broad-based for all occupational groups.

As many as four in ten vacancies were for professionals, managers, executives and technicians -- a bloc named as PMETs.

This was followed by service and sales workers such as waiters, security guards and shop sales assistants, with 23 percent of job openings.

Unattractive pay

The proportion of vacancies unfilled for at least six months declined to 39 percent from 41 percent a year ago. In the highly qualified segment, only less than 20 percent of vacancies remained unfilled.

In other words, while occupations in service and sales workers and cleaners, labourers and related workers remained more likely to be hard-to-fill, the highly skilled jobseekers ran into a stiffer job market.

Surprisingly, 'unattractive pay' remained a top reason for not being able to fill vacancies in both the highly specialised and semi-skilled sectors, employers said.

An earlier report by the manpower ministry had said Singapore added fewer jobs in 2015 than any other year since 2003.

The city state created only 31,800 additional jobs last year, making it the worst year since 2003 and indicating that the global economic slowdown has visible impact on the island economy.