MBA Fair, 11th April, 2018

An MBA event with some useful ‘freebies’.

As many of our readers are interested in the topic of an MBA (Master of Business Administration degree), we have agreed to advertise this up-coming MBA event in Singapore. This event is free-of-charge.

For those who are considering doing an MBA degree or have an interest in the topic, there are some ‘freebies’ you might be interested in such as a one-on-one chat with business school admissions directors, GMAT instructors (probably worth going for this alone!), and scholarship information (another worthwhile attraction!).

The event will at least give you much information on a range of MBA and Executive MBA courses that the organisers are ‘marketing’ and a chance to talk with someone from those universities who will be able to answer questions relevant to their institution. Another valuable feature of this MBA event is that there will be panel discussions featuring school representatives and alumni – the alumni will be able to give you the real picture of the pro’s and con’s and the up’s and down’s of each of the programmes being marketed.

The information ‘flyer’ we were sent is as follows:

Join the Access MBA Tour and connect One-to-One with world’s best business schools. Find your MBA match with the help of our international team of business education experts.

Hold personal meetings with Admissions Directors from prestigious MBA programmes, get advice from our MBA consultants and GMAT instructors, hear from school representatives and alumni during Panel Discussions, and learn about 2 million euros in scholarship opportunities.

Some of the participating schools: INSEAD, IE Business School, ESSEC Business School, HKUST and many others

Date: April 11, 2018

Time: From 5:00 pm to 10:00 pm (upon invitation)

Venue: Orchard Hotel Singapore; Address: 442 Orchard Road

Metro Station: Orchard

Register athttps://www.accessmba.com/link/5a

To secure your place at the event, you would be well advised to register at least 10 days before the event.

This is your opportunity to take the first step towards your MBA journey!

Salaries of the 2017 Graduates from SMU, NUS and NTU

Average graduate starting salaries increased again for 2017

The Ministry of Education recently revealed this year’s results of the Graduate Employment Survey conducted jointly by the universities. The survey reveals the starting salaries that the 2017 graduates from the main Singaporean universities attracted. For simplicity, this article will only discuss the mean or average salaries of those who secured permanent full-time jobs – of course, there were those who attracted higher salaries, particularly those who achieved distinctions in their degree, as well as those who received lower.

All of the universities reported an increase in average starting salaries from the previous year (2016).

Singapore Management University (SMU):

The average salaries that SMU graduates secured were: $3569 for accountancy, $3862 for business, $4013 for economics, $3922 for information systems, $3344 for social science, and $4778 for law. As in previous years, SMU law graduates received the highest average starting salaries for their year.

National University of Singapore (NUS)

The average salaries that NUS graduates secured were: $3005 for arts; $3365 for social science; $4124 for dentistry; $4958 for law; and $2298 for music.

The two multi-disciplinary programmes attracted $3297 for environmental studies and $4010 for computer engineering. The Yale-NUS programme graduates secured an average of $3812 for arts and $4362 for science.

The medical school graduates average starting salaries were $4367 for medicine/surgery; and $3165 for nursing.

Engineering graduates attracted an average salary of $3508, and the individual engineering disciplines starting salaries were $3215 for biomedical engineering; $3550 for chemical engineering; $3361 for civil engineering; $3529 for electrical engineering; $3783 for engineering science; $3425 for environmental engineering; $3905 for industrial and systems engineering; $3269 for materials science engineering; $3537 for mechanical engineering.

The school of science average starting salaries were $3053 for science; $3186 for applied science; and $3473 for pharmacy. The school of computing starting salaries were $4510 for computer science; $4061 for information systems; and $4114 for business analytics.

The business school average starting salaries were $3770 for business administration and $3396 for accountancy. Architecture attracted $4037; $3034 for industrial design; $3105 for project and facilities management; and $3090 for real estate.

Nanyang Technological University (NTU)

The average starting salaries for graduates of the business school were $3530 for business; $3121 for accountancy; $3830 for the double degree of accountancy and business; and $5036 for the double degree of business and computer science.

Engineering starting salaries were $3645 for aerospace engineering; $3326 for bioengineering; $3326 for chemical and biomolecular engineering; $3373 for civil engineering; $3667 for computer engineering; $4078 for computer science; $3532 for electrical and electronic engineering; $3538 for environmental engineering; $3685 for information engineering and media; $3279 for maritime studies; $3288 for materials engineering; and $3422 for mechanical engineering.

Humanities, arts and social science graduates salaries were $2862 for fine arts; $3119 for Chinese; $3134 for communication studies; $3286 for economics; $3042 for English; $3206 for history; $3042 for linguistics and multilingual studies; $3107 for psychology; $3353 for public policy and global studies; and $3263 for sociology.

Science degree graduate average starting salaries were $3177 for biological science; $3035 for chemistry and biological chemistry; $3517 for mathematical science; $3504 for mathematics and economics; $3367 for physics / applied physics; and $2722 for the double degree in biomedical science and Chinese medicine.

Sport science and management average starting salary was $3372; while the Bachelor of Arts in education was $3489 and the Bachelor of Science in education was $3610.

Singapore Jobs Forecast for 2018

Better outlook for job seekers

2018 looks better for job seekers

2018 brings a new year with better prospects for job hunters in Singapore. The economy is improving and confidence in it by employers will lead to greater hiring demands. According to a survey conducted by ManpowerGroup Singapore, 16% of employers said that they are planning on increasing their staffing levels in 2018. However, 5% stated that they expect to decrease the number of staff, and 74% stated that they expect no change in staffing levels. This, according to the survey report, gives an 11% growth in the net employment outlook, even when adjusted for seasonal variations. This is good news for job seekers and is the strongest outlook in 2 years, up from 7% for the same period last year.

So where will the job increases be?

The strongest expected staffing level increases will be in the public sector and education with a 22% growth. In the services industry, IT is again looking at strong growth with increasing demand for cyber security specialists, digital applications, data mining and analytics, software applications and software development. Anything to do with helping businesses increase their online presence and market or sell through smart devices will be in strong demand. The government’s focus on Singapore as a Smart Nation is also driving demand for specialist labour in Information and Communications Technology (ICT), especially for software engineers, data scientists, and IoT (Internet of Things) specialists.

The transport and utilities industries are also said to expand in 2018.

Other than in FinTech (finance focused technologies) related jobs, the financial industry is only expected to have a moderate increase in staffing levels. Here, as well as real estate and the wholesale and retail trade sectors, employers seem to be adopting a ‘wait and see’ policy in relation to the economy – if the economy expands more than expected, then they will be hiring. If not, they are not expecting any changes in hiring.

Retrenchments are slowing

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Manpower’s Labour Market Report for the third quarter of 2017 shows that retrenchments are slowing. There were 3400 retrenchments in Q3 2017, down 6.6% from 3640 in Q2 2017, and down 19.4% from a year ago when retrenchments were 4220 in Q3 2016. The slowdown is mainly attributed to the services and manufacturing sectors.

But PMETs hit hard again

Unfortunately, around 70% of retrenchments hit PMETs (professionals, managers, executives and technicians), with most retrenchments being in the services industry (always very vulnerable to shifts in confidence in the economy). Fortunately the government has placed great emphasis on helping retrenched PMETs find new jobs with financial incentives for employers to employ them, and many up-skilling and re-skilling initiatives.

More good news for those retrenched

The good news from the Ministry of Manpower’s Labour Market Report for Q3 for those retrenched is that the six-month re-entry rate is up 1.9 percentage points to 66.4% over Q2, and up 2 percentage points over Q1. This can be attributed to the improving economy and the government’s initiatives.

Overall, job seekers can expect an improvement in hiring in 2018.

Getting the Most out of Working with Recruiters (2)

Help recruiters to help you

We saw in part 1 of this article that recruiters are very busy people trying to match candidates to vacant positions and that they are paid by the hiring companies to do so – this means that they work for those companies and not for you the job hunter. Because recruiters are busy, job hunters should prepare properly before contacting them, including creating an ‘elevator pitch’ to use with them. We also saw how viewing recruiters as your partners in your job search makes the relationship more productive.

In this second part of the article, we look at some more tips for working with recruiters.

Be clear about your job priorities

Knowing exactly what is important to you in a job is essential so that you have criteria for evaluating an offered position. This includes establishing a salary range that identifies that figure below which you will not consider accepting a job no matter what the other favourable conditions might be, as well as the desired actual salary. You also need to be clear about your other expectations of a job such as location, travel, career advancement, career development opportunities, medical and other benefits, etc. Your job priorities should be a written list that you can refer to, and when dealing with a recruiter, that you have clearly and honestly communicated these so that they use them in matching you to a vacant position. This will make the process easier for both of you.

Be flexible with those priorities

Some of your job priorities will be ‘concrete’ in that they are “must have’s” – for example, if travel in your work is very important for you, you will not be happy in a job that doesn’t encompass this, so that’s a “must”. Other priorities may be less set in stone and you should be flexible with these. For instance, a job offer may be on the lower end of your salary expectations but it might have excellent health coverage which can add more than $400 into the overall package. Similarly, reimbursed tuition fees, increased leave or excellent opportunities for advancement may also make-up for the lower salary. So when discussing priorities with a recruiter, especially when a job offer is being made, be flexible where you can, but remain rigid with your “must have’s”.

Listen to what the recruiter suggests

Recruiters will make suggestions as to what to include (or not include) in your resume when applying to specific companies, or what to say to a particular hiring manager during interview, etc. One of recruiters’ main irritations is when candidates argue with them over such suggestions and insist on doing it “their way’ – the recruiter knows their client and is making the suggestions so that the candidate will more easily ‘fit’ with what the hiring manager is looking for. So listen and heed what they say!

Work with multiple recruiters

There are dozens and dozens of employment agencies operating in Singapore, some good, some bad, many in-between. Job searchers should do some research on which agencies deal with the industry they are targeting jobs in and through further research, find out if the agencies they are considering have a reasonable reputation. Then the job searcher should work with a number of different recruiters to increase their exposure to the job market – different recruiters and employment agencies will have different companies as clients, and not all recruiters will have access to all available positions or hiring managers. So it makes sense to work with a number of different recruiters in order to have access to as wide a pool of vacancies as possible.

Skills Needed for the Future in Singapore

Creativity and people related skills will be in demand in the future

The Changing Economy and its Effect on Jobs

Singapore’s economy and its structure are changing and this is having a major effect on the labour market. Already we see banks and other financial institutions moving jobs to cheaper labour markets such as the Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam and China, while other jobs in the financial industry are being replaced by technology. Similar movements are taking place in other historically core industries such as shipping, oil, energy and engineering. So called “traditional” jobs are being lost and mid-career and above PMETs (Professionals, Managers, Executives and Technicians) are the majority losers – an estimated 60% to 70% of retrenchments are mid-career and above professionals.

Fortunately the government has taken strong measures to protect and support mid-career PMETs, and there are many initiatives in place to facilitate the retraining and upskilling of such workers. But what skills will be in demand in Singapore the future?

A New Industrial Revolution

There is much talk about the world having entered the “Fourth Industrial Revolution” – but this is perhaps misnamed as it is a technological revolution rather than an industrial one – and researchers and other analysts are looking at the impact this transformation is having and will continue to have on the world of work.

The changing face of industry in Singapore is seeing advances and expansion in research and development, e-commerce, and other digital businesses. This is evidenced by the number of companies that have their R&D centres here and the growing number of e-marketplaces such as Lazada and Amazon building their regional hubs in Singapore. Another strong focus now is to take advantage of new technologies such as IoT (the Internet of Things), AI (artificial intelligence), quantum computing, biotechnologies, nanotechnologies, and renewable energy.

Examples of these developments that we already see in use are the advances in medicine and medical technologies such as ‘nanocarriers’ of chemotherapy drugs that affect only the targeted cells; absorbable heart stents; ‘nanoagriculture’ increasing the production of crops and livestock; self-driving cars; and the growth of data analytics.

Skills for the Future

So with all these changes in technology and the world of work, what skills are not in danger of being replaced by robots or other technologies? What skills are needed in Singapore for 2020 and beyond?

The skills needed for the future can be categorised as creativity related skills and people related skills.

Creativity related skills include creative problem-solving, critical thinking, and creativity and innovative thinking. Creative problem-solving seeks to look at situations from different perspectives to build a fuller understanding of it before looking for novel solutions. Only humans can create ideas out of nothing – technology cannot. Creativity skills are and will always be needed and in demand. Education systems globally result in people using only logical analysis in the search for solutions to complex problems and most people therefore have underutilised intuitive and creative potential – training can help remedy this.

Technology / robots will increasingly be able to analyse complex data but still only from a logical perspective – there is no indication that technology will replace intuition which is a purely human function. Similarly, technology and robots will increasingly develop even more complex mathematical skills but will not be able to master the human intuitive side of making connections and seeing relationships between seemingly random events, nor will they make insightful interpretations of them.

People related skills include the ability to manage people, empathise with them, lead them, build teams, communicate across teams and the ability to coordinate and collaborate with people. Technology and robots cannot do these. Neither can technology provide a customer service orientation to business. These human, people focused skills will always be in demand.

To safeguard your future in work, make sure that you develop creativity and people related skills.

What to Write in a Cover Letter

A cover letter or cover e-mail should entice the recipient to read the attached resume

A commonly asked question of career coaches and counsellors is what to write in a cover letter or cover e-mail. [For simplicity, I’ll just use the phrase ‘cover letter’ to refer to both the written letter form and a cover e-mail.] Some people struggle about what to write and reduce the impact of their resume by sending it with a poor cover letter.

First, let us look at the purpose of a cover letter. It is intended to get the recipient to read the enclosed or attached resume – as such it is the first step in attaining a job in the job search process (the purpose of a resume is to get an interview, and the purpose of the interview is for you to show how you match the requirements for the job and thus secure it). Given its purpose then, a cover letter should entice the reader to pay great attention to the attached resume.

The following format is one you can use to persuade the recipient to just that:

Firstly, the cover letter should be addressed to a specific person in the company, preferably the appropriate hiring manager, but if you can’t find out who that is, then the HR manager in charge of recruitment. This is more personal than a “Dear Sir / Madam” and is more likely to be favourably read. If also makes it easier to follow up later. Of course, this involves a little research and sometimes a little detective work to find the name of the appropriate person, but doing so is well worth the effort.

The letter or e-mail should start by stating the specific position you are applying for and mention where you saw the job advertised. If a particular person told you about the vacancy and especially if that person works in the company, mention who ‘recommended’ that you apply. Similarly, even if the person who told you is from outside of the company but it might still be valuable or worthwhile to mention their name and/or position, make sure to do so.

The next paragraph should briefly indicate how you meet the requirements for the job applied for, and this should be done in such a way that the reader will want to see more and will therefore read the resume as well. This is the most important part of the cover letter and you must spend some time on getting the balance right between showing that you are the person for the job and becoming too long-winded! Being concise is what is required here.

You can either continue in the same paragraph or start a new one if the previous one was in any way long, by highlighting some key or relevant positions you have held. For the positions mentioned, you should select one or two very relevant responsibilities and achievements – very relevant here means that they are specifically related to one or more of the key requirements for the job. Again, you need to be very brief and concise.

To finalise, you should tell the reader how to best contact you and when.

The cover letter (or e-mail) should be no longer than one page in length – if it is longer, you need to edit it. An overly long letter or e-mail won’t be read.

The Changing Jobs Focus for Foreigners in Singapore

Singapore jobs are still very attractive to foreigners

A report in People Management Asia, an online magazine published by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) that focuses on Human Resources issues in East and South East Asia, highlights some of the changes that are taking place in the foreign labour market in Singapore (You can read the article here). Traditionally, the greatest number of expats working in Singapore were employed by banks and other financial services – these jobs were those directly involved in financial services as well as those supporting these services such as IT specialists and others in technology development.

What we see now is that, driven by high costs and other restrictions, the banks and other financial institutions are moving many jobs to lower labour cost countries such as Malaysia, the Philippines and China. They are also developing their strategic and operational interests in these countries.

In spite of this, however, the number of foreigners working in Singapore continues to rise. The Ministry of Manpower’s (MoM) website shows that the Total Foreign Workforce (excluding foreign domestic workers and construction workers) in December 2014 was 764,500. This rose to 780,300 in December 2015, and to 787,800 in December 2016 – the number at the end of June 2017 might suggest a slowdown as the numbers dropped slightly to 787,000. You can read about the full breakdown of the types of employment passes and work passes that these foreigners are working on in Singapore on MoM’s website here.

So if certain jobs in the financial services sector are decreasing, what types of jobs are these foreigners doing? Well, not all parts of the financial services sector are affected as there is a continuing increase in financial technology jobs and in its associated Research and Development (R & D). The CIPD report suggests that the trend is increasingly changing to technical areas in other industries and to R & D in “sectors ranging from financial technology to renewable energy and life sciences”.

Government policy is also having an effect on the type and level of jobs that foreigners in Singapore are doing. Previously, many of the jobs that foreigners held were at junior to mid-level. Now, with the governments push to hire more local PMETs (Professionals, Managers, Executives and Technicians), especially older PMETs, many of these jobs are increasingly held by locals. MoM and other government ministries provide a range of generous incentives for companies to hire, train or retrain local PMETs.

Jobs at a senior level are the only ones to buck this trend and there is still a high demand for these.

Another changing trend for foreigners is in the type of remuneration packages that they are being offered. The traditional expat package that included high housing allowances and paid school fees for their children is not automatic for foreigners coming to work in Singapore anymore. More and more work contracts are now only being offered on local terms, but because of Singapore’s low personal tax rates, these contracts are still attractive.

Singapore Labour Market – changes in demand for expats

Trends are changing in expat jobs in Singapore

Singapore had a foreign workforce (excluding domestic helpers and construction workers) of around 790,000 at the end of 2016. Traditionally, the various financial services account for the largest number of these, but with the banking sector continuing to outplace and downsize, this trend is changing. The change is being influenced by higher labour and operating costs, as well as technological disruption. It seems that artificial intelligence and other technological innovations are somewhat replacing the need for humans in the banking sector!

So where are the ‘in demand’ expat jobs in Singapore? In an article in People Management Asia published by the chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) (you can read the article here), Nilay Khandelwal, director of Michael Page Singapore, says that “demand has been increasing in technical fields and the R&D environment in sectors ranging from financial technology to renewable energy and life sciences”.

Recent changes in the EntrePass scheme reflect this trend. The EntrePass scheme offers visas to entrepreneurs setting up a company in Singapore and particularly wants to attract hi-tech and scientific start-ups. The Singapore government has relaxed some of the conditions required to get an EntrePass, including greater flexibility in the financial requirements, to make it easier for people of talent to qualify. People with technological and scientific skills can now qualify based on these skills.

Nilay Khandelwal also noted that the government’s policy of measures to help local professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs) to get jobs is having an effect on expat hiring trends. This has resulted in a reduction in demand for junior to mid-level expats. It will be increasingly difficult for foreigners to secure these junior to mid-level positions unless they have skills that the local workforce doesn’t possess.

This assumes, of course, that they know how to make these skills stand out in their resumes when applying for jobs in Singapore. Unfortunately many resumes from foreigners fail to sufficiently highlight their unique skillset to potential employers. To even get noticed or have their resume fully read, applicants, particularly foreign ones, need to have a properly focused resume. No longer will the old style CV or generic resume get an interview.

Another change in the demand for expats in Singapore according to Khandelwal, is that more expats are being hired on local contracts as opposed to the lucrative expat packages that were previously the norm. The days when expats could expect generous housing allowances, paid school fees, top class international health insurance, car allowance, etc, are quickly passing. There are, of course, still many expats on these packages, but they are becoming less and less. Foreigners looking for jobs in Singapore must have reasonable expectations. Nevertheless, Singapore is still quite competitive in attracting foreign talent in that the income tax rate is much lower than in most Western countries.

 

Job Cuts as Scoot and Tigerair Join Forces?

Singapore Airlines (SIA) has formed a new company, Budget Aviation Holdings, to run it’s low cost airlines – Scoot and Tigerair.

The idea is that the new company will help to integrate the two airlines, and also allow for sharing of important functions such as operations/planning, marketing, sales and admin.

“There are many opportunities ahead for Scoot and Tigerair to work more closely together, which will provide new opportunities for the growth of both airlines for the benefit of our customers,” stated the new CEO of the company.

As per SIA, no jobs will be axed as a result of the move. At the moment, Tigerair has around 850 employees and Scoot has over 900.

However, two key executives decided to quit Scoot – Steven Greenway (Chief Commercial Officer) and Benson Tan (Head of Ground Services).

The combined entity will be led by Tigerair CEO Lee Lik Hsin. The chief executive of Scoot, Campbell Wilson, will move to SIA as acting SVP of Sales and Marketing.

Mr Goh Choon Phong, SIA’s chief executive and chairman of the new entity, said: “The holding company structure will drive a deep integration of our low-cost subsidiaries, which are important parts of our portfolio strategy in which we have investments in both the full-service and budget aspects of the airline business.”

Such a move was expected since November 2015, when SIA made a bid to takeover Tigerair.

Which countries have the highest paid employees in Asia-Pacific?

Willis Towers Watson’s 2015/2016 Global Remuneration Report reveals that base salaries are highest in Singapore, as compared to other countries in Asia Pacific.

The survey looked at salaries across 3 job grades – professionals, senior management and top management.

Salaries in Singapore are 8% higher than Hong Kong on average. Hong Kong is the highest paying economy of the Greater China Region.

The largest salary gap between Singapore and China is at the professional level, where salaries double in Singapore. From middle management, up to senior and top management levels, employees in Singapore earn 28 to 52 percent more.


singapore asia salary levels 2016


“As a leading economy in the region, Singapore enhances the competitiveness in the international area. They want to bring in top talent with the best knowledge of practices from all parts of the world. It allows them to offer a higher competitive salary to bring in the managers,” stated Mr. Sambhav Rakyan, a data services practice leader with Willis Towers Watson in the Asia Pacific.

Aside from Singapore, eleven other countries were part of the Asia Pacific section in the report. Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Thailand are included in the report.

  • Indonesia pays their executives a higher pay grade than other countries in South East Asia, right behind Singapore.
  • However, Indonesia executive salaries are still five per cent to 44 per cent lower than China’s base pay for their employees.
  • Malaysia and Thailand pay their executives the least, and the professional levels are paid the least in the Philippines.

Mr. Rakyan declares the lower salaries in the Southeast Asian countries provide a competitive edge.

“Low-cost labor is not a major selling point of China, and the pay level illustrates that point. China is more expensive than other areas, and the developed infrastructure and skilled workforce will continue to bring in companies, compared to economies in Southeast Asia. An emphasis on quality and sustainability for products and services will continue to attract talent to China, and the base salaries will continue to be higher than other countries.”

State of the Singaporean job market in 1q2016

Preliminary estimates of the Singapore job market show that total unemployment did not change between December 2015 and March 2016.

When looking at it differently, however, you see that total unemployment declined for both residents and citizens.

Overall employment in the Singaporean labour force grew in Q1 of 2016, although the growth was slower than previous quarters.

While the number of people laid off was lower than previous quarters, it was still not as low as a year ago.


singapore job labour market 1q2016


Looking into the specifics of these numbers, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remained unchanged in March 2016, sitting at 1.9 percent.

However, unemployment rates did decrease both among citizens (3 percent to 2.6 percent) and residents (2.9 percent to 2.7 percent), when looking at the changes between December 2015 and March 2016.

As on March 2016, it is estimated that upwards of 60,400 residents, 50,800 of them Singaporean citizens, were unemployed. This is lower than the figures in December 2015 (64,600 and 57,900).


When looking at total employment, it is estimated that there has been an increase of 11,400 jobs in Q1 of 2016. While this is lower than the growth of Q4 in 2015, it is still a reversal in the decline of -6,100 that occurred in Q1 of 2015.

The increase in jobs was largely due to the service industry. However, the growth in the industry was slower than in previous quarter (21,500).

In comparison, the manufacturing industry continued it’s decline, and the number of jobs fell by -2,000. This was the sixth consecutive quarter in a row, where the number of jobs reduced.

Conversely, employment in the construction industry experienced an increase during Q1 2016 (1,600), as compared to 900 in the previous quarter. This boost was a direct result of the demand for construction activities in both the public and private sectors.


Overall, March 2016 saw a total employment number of 3,667,600, which is 1.4 percent higher than a year prior. The number of jobs grew faster than the 0.9 percent pace in December 2015.

Lastly, preliminary data showed that over 4,600 workers found that their positions become redundant during Q1 of 2016. This is lower than Q4 2015 (5,270).

All in all, services saw the most redundancies. The sector, as a result, had to lay off more workers than in the previous quarter, seeing an increase from 2,360 to 2,500.

However, redundancies fell in both the construction (520 to 300) and manufacturing (2,480 to 1,800) industries.

PM’s May Day Speech – Highlights for the job market in Singapore

During his May Day rally speech, Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong stated that workers are living in a “time of change.”

However, he believes that both the Government and labor movement will help workers to meet the challenges of these changes effectively.

Did you miss the speech? If so, here are the top seven things you should know about. You can also watch the speech at the end of this article.


There Will Be Ups and Downs

Just as the global economy has slowed down, so has the Singaporean economy.

One example of the state of the country’s economy, was that there have been several shifts a day in some cases, of no ships entering the country’s most used port, the Tanjong Pagar Terminal.

However, there are areas of the country’s economy that look hopeful.

Information, finance, communication, technology, healthcare, and insurance are all seeing boosts.

Additionally, the unemployment rate is still set to decrease overall, rather than increase.

In fact, Singapore remains a country where there are more jobs than workers, and the real challenge remains in getting Singaporean workers properly qualified to take on those jobs.


PMETs are On the Rise

PMETs are the largest section of the workforce in Singapore (at 54 percent), and the number is only expected to rise further (to two thirds by 2030).

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong suggested in his speech that NTUC can further the rise of this number by offering useful career counselling and courses that will boost networking and skills for PMETs looking to enter the new Singaporean workforce.


Dealing with Disruptors

With the rise of new sharing economy apps, Uber and Airbnb in particular, the business models of these industries in Singapore will never be the same. In many ways these companies have made it harder for local business.

However, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong does recognize the benefit these companies have for the consumers.

The Government has promised to cement measures that will allow all competitors, new and old, to compete fairly.

The Prime Minister also challenged those in the industry to be the new “disruptors.” He stated, “Be the disruptor. And, if we can do this industry transformation, it’s not just the businesses and consumers who benefit, but the workers in those businesses.”


Some Big Changes are Coming

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong pointed out three specific areas of change that Singaporean workers should anticipate:

  • Now that more PMETs exist, the workforce demographics will be changing.
  • Singaporean jobs are changing as emerging industries are putting forth new jobs. However, old jobs are also being lost because of outsourcing.
  • With industries changing every day, new business models are challenging old ways of production.

Workers Must Push Forward

If you want to remain successful in the Singaporean job market, you will need to upgrade your skillset and resume.

Most companies investing in Singapore currently are from industries that have never been present in the country before, such as the solar energy company REC, and they require specific kinds of workers.

To help workers adjust for this huge change, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has created multiple programs to help workers learn new and useful skills. These programs are meant to assist PMETs in modernizing their skillset through education/training/etc. at various institutions in Singapore.

For example, the Government is putting $150 million toward the NTUC Education and Training Fund, as long as NTUC itself raises $50 million first.

If NTUC raises this money, they will use it to assist higher education for Singaporean workers, and will work toward training 30,000+ new workers every year. To reach this goal, the organization will be partnering with Nanyang Technological University in August.


Do Not Invest in Unemployment Insurance

In a time when unemployment seems more likely for certain Singaporean workers, many are considering an investment in unemployment insurance.

However, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong thinks this is a bad idea. Instead of using a scheme to get paid to do nothing, he says Singaporeans should take advantage of the new government programs that will train them for free.

The Government also has plans to restructure the workplace so that more workers can be moved into roles they can perform properly, hopefully cutting down on unemployment rates.

One such program is the Career Support Programme for PMETs who have lost their jobs and been retrenched. This program subsidizes the cost of hiring such individuals for a full year. Due to this, over 200 older, less immediately-qualified PMETs have been able to secure employment over the last five months.


Singapore is Unique in its Business Model

Speaking on the uniqueness of Singapore, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said, “Only in Singapore, do you have a Government that is on the side of the workers, but also one that helps businesses to transform and become more competitive.”

Continuing his sentiments, he said, “Only in Singapore do we have a dynamic and constructive labor movement, that not only says it believes in tripartism, but practices it.

In many countries, union leaders, Government and business leaders cannot be in the same room.”

Overall, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s speech was optimistic about the future of Singapore and its workforce.