Singapore's most in-demand jobs require more than just digital skills

Singapore salary

Singapore's accounting, engineering and technical, customer service, and healthcare sectors will see the strongest job-growth this year, according to the Kelly Services 2019 Singapore Salary Guide. The increase in employment opportunities will be driven by stronger demand for services, coupled with a decline in manpower and specific skill sets. Landing these in-demand roles will require job seekers to possess a combination of hard and soft skills.

As organisations across various industries accelerate their digital transformation journeys, communication, analytics, digital, and change management skills will help employees take on more strategic roles. Those with blockchain skills and Artificial Intelligence (AI) expertise will also be highly sought-after, especially in the banking and finance sector.

"Digital disruption is impacting all facets of Singapore's economy – right down to the workforce," said Foo See Yang, Managing Director and Country Head, Singapore, at Kelly Services. "To find success in the digital age, we need a reskilling and upskilling revolution. This talent will find better wage and employment opportunities, regardless of level or industry."

This year, Singapore is expecting a slight decline in overall economic growth due to heightened global uncertainties and risks. Nonetheless, the labour growth outlook remains modest in the years ahead, due to underlying demographics of an ageing population and low birth rates. In 2018, Singapore's labour market saw an overall improvement, with an increase in employment and a decline in unemployment and retrenchment rates.

Foo adds: "Amidst challenging labour market conditions and the talent crunch, our 2019 Q1 APAC Workforce Insights found several groups of workers that companies may tap into – mature workers, returning mothers, and people with disabilities or special needs. These workers can be valuable assets to the workforce, especially for sectors that face challenges in finding local workers."

Sector Insights


The sector remains primed for growth, with 2,000 new jobs set to be created by 2020. With traditional administrative and finance functions increasingly automated, the accountant of the future will need to adapt to higher value work and take on more strategic roles.

The hottest jobs for 2019 include accounts assistants, accountant/senior accountant, finance executive/senior finance executive, a financial analyst/senior financial analyst, finance manager, senior manager/manager, financial planning and analysis.

Banking and Finance

According to the Ministry of Manpower's Labour Market Report, financial services was one of the key drivers of employment growth in Q1 2019. In financial services, the government has set a target of creating 3,000 jobs from 2018 to 2020, with an additional 1,000 jobs per year expected to come from the thriving fintech sector. Concurrently, the sector is focusing on the adoption of technologies including blockchain and AI to strengthen the country's digital transformation efforts. The country's blockchain friendly environment has also drawn numerous foreign start-ups to Singapore.

The hottest jobs for 2019 include compliance senior officer/officer, business analyst, risk analyst (market/liquidity risk), client relationship manager.

Customer Service

At Budget 2019, the government introduced several measures to reduce the sector's dependency on foreign manpower, including a reduction in the foreign worker quota to 35 per cent by 2021. Additionally, jobs that require a human touch, such as customer service, should continue to see strong demand.

The hottest jobs for 2019 include concierge/helpdesk officer, customer care consultant, customer service assistant/officer, customer service executive.

Engineering and Technical

The manufacturing sector remained the biggest contributor to Singapore's economy, primarily supported by the electronics, transport engineering, and biomedical manufacturing sectors. Skilled, quality engineers are required to maintain sustained and steady growth for the sector, yet many engineering vacancies today go unfulfilled, due to a shortfall in local workforce supply and engineers leaving the profession. To boost workforce training and development for the Built Environment (BE) sector, the government has committed $72 million until 2020.

The hottest jobs for 2019 include application specialist/engineer, maintenance technician, research & development engineer, BIM manager, quality control technician, senior environment, health & safety engineer/engineer.

Healthcare and Life Sciences

Singapore will need to almost double its pool of existing long-term care workers by 2020 to support its ageing population. To meet this urgent need, the sector must overcome several challenges such as misaligned salary expectations and lack of manpower. Furthermore, when medical records are fully digitised in the next few years, upskilling and reskilling will be imperative for healthcare workers and patient service associates.

The hottest jobs for 2019 include laboratory technician, medical sales representative, patient service associate, radiographer, sales manager (pharmaceutical/medical devices), staff nurse.

The Kelly Services 2019 Singapore Salary Guide aims to help companies design and refresh their approach to attracting, retaining and developing talent. The guide provides a comprehensive compilation of salaries and job positions across key industries from actual transactions recorded on the databases of Kelly Services, Capita and PERSOL Singapore.