Bad news for expats as Singapore labour market shrinks

Published:  17 Oct at 6 PM
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Tagged: Currency, Jobs
Human resources consultants in Singapore are warning tighter labour market and slowing economy may reduce demand for expat professionals.

Although the market for top jobs is expected to stay strong, expats looking for middle managerial or more junior positions are likely to be disappointed. Singaporean employers are now opening up such positions to local workers, of whom there is a ready supply, and the change will support government initiatives aimed at boosting local employment.

September figures released by Singapore’s Manpower Ministry show the total of job seekers exceeding available vacancies for the first time since 2012, with the 9,500 redundancies issued the highest for seven years. A spokesperson from the ministry predicted a fall in the numbers of foreign workers, especially in the oil and gas industry.

Singapore’s booming tech sector is set to continue as a focus for both expats and local talent, although banking and finance opportunities in currency and commodity trading are shrinking. However, coveted positions in wealth management and fintech are still open to talented and experienced expat professionals.

It seems lower demand for expat workers may well translate into more job opportunities for Singaporean nationals, but entry-level positions will still be available to expats as Singaporeans don’t recognise any long-term potential in these jobs. The services sector in particular is not popular with locals, and will continue to employs expats as a result.

Salaries in Singapore are unlikely to see much in the way of increases over the next several years as the economy is sluggish and unlikely to recover quickly. In spite of this, the Republic is still seen as an attractive place for younger expats looking to gain positive work experience and opportunities.
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