Singapore: Talent crunch may worsen with few seeking new jobs

As Singapore shifts towards a new normal of COVID-19 resilience, more employers are looking to hire this year, but their appetite has not been matched by job seekers.

Over six in 10 employers indicated they are looking to hire, compared to over five in 10 a year before, according to a survey of 450 full-time employees and 200 employers conducted by continuing education and training provider NTUC LearningHub in January.

Yet, only one in 10 employees surveyed are actively looking for a new job.

The top three reasons cited by them include satisfaction with their current role, satisfaction with their current pay and the job security provided by their company — in that order.

NTUC LearningHub noted on Jan. 26 that the smaller pool of people looking for jobs may worsen an existing talent crunch.

Nearly four in five employers surveyed who are hiring or intending to hire have found getting people to fill the jobs they have a challenge, noted NTUC LearningHub.

According to the latest labor market statistics from the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) released in January for the third quarter of last year, there were over 98,000 vacancies across all sectors.

The ratio of job vacancies to unemployed people rose to 209 for every 100 people, up from 163 the quarter before.

MOM also noted in its report that the uneven recovery across sectors could mean some displaced workers, especially older and less-educated workers, face greater challenges finding work.

Meanwhile, the NTUC LearningHub survey also found that employers struggled to find applicants with relevant skill sets to fill vacancies.

However, nine in 10 employees surveyed think employers could be more supportive of their upskilling, with nearly six in 10 considering upskilling to move into a more resilient industry than their current one.

The survey also revealed that industries that face a greater talent crunch include the media, infocomm technology, energy and chemicals, and healthcare industries, with employees in these industries among the least likely to actively look for new employment.

Commenting on the findings, NTUC LearningHub’s director of infocomm technology Anthony Chew said: “To plug the skills chasm, companies could benefit from upskilling both existing and new employees to boost their workforce competencies and meet business objectives.”