SINGAPORE: It seems Singapore's tight labour market is proving to be lucrative for job seekers here -- HR firms Channel NewsAsia spoke with said those with relevant skills are in demand, especially for sectors such as finance, business development, customer support and sales.
By all accounts, Singapore's labour market looks positive -- at JobStreet.com for example, the number of active jobs in its listing now stands at about 38,000. That is up 25 per cent compared to a year ago.
A recent survey by JobStreet.com of some 1,500 job seekers showed that 75 per cent intend to leave their job, even after pocketing a nice bonus.
Anthony Ung, country manager for JobStreet.com, said: "There's a lot of choice, a lot of opportunities out there, and now they're just trying to find the best ones that suit them."
Country manager of Manpower Singapore, Linda Teo, said: "As the job market has stabilised, most sectors are experiencing growth, though employers are still cautious and are offering plenty of opportunities for job seekers. The candidates pool is certainly depleting and top quality candidates are becoming increasingly difficult to find." Workers Channel NewsAsia spoke with said that often, it is pay that is the pull factor.
Chiu Kai Ling, a manager, said: "The general consensus is that if you job hop, your pay will actually increase faster."
HR experts said those who switch jobs in the current climate stand to see their pay jump by up to 20 per cent. However, they also warn that employers tend to frown on frequent job hopping, especially towards those who do not stay in a company for more than two to three years.
Mr Ung added: "You need to really stick to it. Find the job that you like, find the company that you like, and then really take the time to find what the company has to offer and make up your mind only after a certain amount of time... If you're going to just give that company, six months, one year, you're being unfair to yourself and the company as well."
Figures from the Manpower Ministry show a rise in the number of job vacancies, at least for the first quarter of the year, and unemployment remaining low. Thus, it is a buoyant job market for the Singaporean job seeker, especially with restrictions to foreign labour here.
According to MOM's 2013 Q1 Labour Marker report, job openings rose, after declining in the previous quarter. The seasonally adjusted vacancies increased over the quarter by 17 per cent in March 2013, reversing the decline of seven per cent in December 2012.
With the increase in job vacancies, the seasonally adjusted ratio of job vacancies to unemployed persons rose from 1.05 in December 2012 to 1.21 in March 2013, close to the level of 1.23 in September 2012.
As business costs go up in Singapore, some companies are taking a cautious approach to hiring.
Toby Fowlston, managing director of Robert Walters Singapore, said: "A lot of our clients are taking longer to make decisions to hire people... Good people, generally speaking, will always secure employment."
He added that despite the bump in job vacancies in Q1, overall, the figures for Singapore registered a dip compared to the region, as businesses move their operations to cheaper locations.
Robert Walters latest report showed that job advertising numbers in Singapore were down by 0.7 per cent in Q1 compared to the last quarter. - CNA/ac
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