Singapore Job Forecast: Six most in-demand professions in 2023, according to Robert Walters

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After a very dynamic 2022, bouncing back on the post-pandemic surge in economic activity, next year is shaping up to be a lot calmer and, yes, slower. Fears of global or at least regional recession are not unfounded but it seems that Singapore should largely be spared.

Besides that, each specific industry sees its own ups and downs, and certain professions remain highly sought after no matter what happens in the surrounding environment. What are they? Let’s take a look.

British international recruitment agency Robert Walters Group, has released its Salary Guide for 2023, along with a series of predictions about employment markets around the world – including Singapore.

According to a summary of the survey by Human Resources Online, here are the hottest professions in Singapore next year:

1. Technology & transformation

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Roles in: software development/data & analytics/cloud automation & cyber security, digital transformation (SMEs), agile coaches/scrum masters.

Trends:

  • Apart from technical skills, companies are also on the lookout for individuals who can manage stakeholders, articulate their thoughts well, and be a good cultural fit.
  • Salaries are expected to increase by 20 per cent for job movers.
  • Beyond salaries, there is likely to be a trend toward improving benefits to win top talent.
  • 73 per cent of businesses are giving pay rises, while 67 per cent of professionals expect a pay rise in 2023.
  • 60 per cent of professionals are looking for a new job, and 70 per cent are confident about job opportunities.

2. Banking & financial services

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Roles in: financial management (fund/private equity), investment operations, compliance data analytics.

Trends:

  • Digitalisation, digital banks, and new technologies, as well as ESG play a big role in the hiring market.
  • Regulatory bodies will create more hybrid roles (e.g., compliance data analytics) as they become more data-driven.
  • With global economic uncertainties, more contract roles are expected.
  • As work-from-home becomes more common place, soft skills such as communication, innovation, collaboration, and time management are seen as essential.
  • Skillsets in demand: Compliance data analytics, ESG risk, investment operations, finance manager funds, or private equity.
  • Incremental pay raises of over 20 per cent will be the norm for in-demand roles.
  • 85 per cent of businesses are giving pay rises, while 55 per cent of professionals expect a pay rise in 2023.
  • 72 per cent of professionals are looking for a new job, and 62 per cent are confident about job opportunities.

3. Commerce finance

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Roles in: analytics finance project professionals, automation/process improvement roles, finance business partners at various levels.

Trends:

  • Heavy demand for finance professionals who can understand different perspectives of the business and communicate/collaborate well with various functions. Finance business partners, analytics finance project professionals, finance controllers, and regional business controllers will be in demand.
  • Employers seek talent who possess hands-on experience in analytics software, as well as those with strong soft skills.
  • Talent with digital transformation experience in finance to fill roles related to automation and process improvement, financial planning and analysis skills will be sought after too.
  • Standard positions within finance functions can expect a 10-13 per cent increment. Niche combination roles such as analytics and finance business partners can demand a slight premium.
  • 87 per cent of businesses are giving pay rises, while 68 per cent of professionals expect a pay rise in 2023.
  • 65 per cent of professionals are looking for a new job, and 70 per cent are confident about job opportunities.

4. Human resources

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Roles in: talent acquisition/recruitment specialist, executive assistant, office manager, secretarial, HR business partners.

Trends:

  • Rise in HR professionals enrolling in data analytics, coaching, and leadership courses.
  • There will be demand for for talent acquisition specialists to manage volume hiring, and for experienced executive assistants, office managers and secretarial professionals to support senior leadership personnel for businesses that are setting up regional offices in Singapore.
  • Trend to continue: Companies building specialist teams to drive initiatives that promote equality, inclusion, and a sense of belonging as part of the workplace culture.
  • Possibly a 15-20 per cent salary increment for HR professionals in talent acquisition, HR business partnering, and leadership positions mainly in the banking, technology, FMCG, and healthcare sectors.
  • 84 per cent of businesses are giving pay rises, while 67 per cent of professionals expect a pay rise in 2023.
  • 52 per cent of professionals are looking for a new job, and 68 per cent are confident about job opportunities.

5. Sales & marketing

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Roles in: business development and sales/account management, e-commerce sales & marketing, digital and content creation marketing.

Trends:

  • Employers in this sector will focus on hiring local talent for most roles, and a bigger focus on diversity and inclusion in hiring.
  • More hiring is expected in health and wellness-related industries. Demand for positions related to the online space and customer or customer engagement will continue, as will the demand for professionals with skill sets in analytics, digital, e-commerce, CRM, performance marketing and omnichannel marketing. Proven sales professionals will also be in demand.
  • Skillsets in demand: Permanent roles: FMCG, retail, luxury and consumer technology, healthcare, professional services, industrial (business development, sales management, account management).
  • Contract roles: Social media marketing, campaign analytics, digital marketing, e-commerce, programme marketing, public relations and communications.
  • Talent who move jobs can expect an increment of 15-20 per cent for permanent roles. Increments can exceed 30 per cent in talent-short areas such as e-commerce account management.
  • 81 per cent of businesses are giving pay rises, while 69 per cent of professionals expect a pay rise in 2023.
  • 72 per cent of professionals are looking for a new job, and 42 per cent are confident about job opportunities.

6. Supply chain & procurement

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Roles in: supply chain and procurement centre of excellence (COE), global logistics manager, demand planners, and order fulfilment/customer service specialists.

Trends:

  • A stronger emphasis on cost optimisation, process and continuous improvement will translate into a demand for corporate strategy talents and an increase in hybrid roles.
  • Roles in highest demand include global logistics managers, category managers, and leadership roles pertaining to supply chain and procurement centres of excellence.
  • Technical skill sets sought after include proficiency in SAP, Tableau, SQL, Power BI, AutoCAD for warehousing solutions designing, and master data management. ▪ Soft skills in business analysis, contract negotiation, digital transformation and automation, 3PL and vendor management, or process and continuous improvement frameworks.
  • Talent who move jobs can expect an increment of 15-20 per cent for permanent roles.
  • 88 per cent of businesses are giving pay rises, while 67 per cent of professionals expect a pay rise in 2023.
  • 89 per cent of professionals are looking for a new job, and 65 per cent are confident about job opportunities.

78% employees may quit if salaries don’t match inflation

In another finding of the survey, interviewed workers expressed their concerns about the pace of inflation that is eroding their salaries. If they are not raised correspondingly, nearly 80% of respondents said they would consider changing their job — particularly as most could expect a significant financial boost when jumping ship.

Employment situation in Singapore is comparatively good vs. very nearly every other country. According to the latest data from Ministry of Manpower employment rate has hit historic highs, while many industries are grappling with talent shortage.

Despite layoffs in e.g. tech companies, qualified engineers are scooped up very quickly by other businesses seeking talent.

While giants like Google, Microsoft or Twitter may have hired far too many people for their needs, many smaller companies are hungry for experienced individuals and read to pay them well.

This is why despite not very upbeat predictions about the global economy next year and an expected slowdown of Singapore’s own economic growth (with GDP expected to increase between just 0.5 and 2.5 per cent in 2023), employment situation in the city-state should remain pretty good – particularly in those high-demand jobs.

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