Go direct:Banking & Financial Services
With the economic recovery gathering pace and growth rates accelerating, we expect financial services to benefit from the improvement in the overall business climate. The rapidly evolving banking and financial services ecosystem is also seeing institutions accelerate their transformation into more strategically focused, technologically modern, and operationally agile businesses.
FMCG and Consumer Healthcare industry is still undergoing consolidation
There is a general sentiment of change, right sizing and optimization across the industry, especially within organizations that have had stronger performance in Asia than in Western economies. Some Global and Regional offices have moved out of Singapore, with the responsibilities being redistributed across the region or returned to home territories. Increased demand in health and wellness categories have led to companies rapidly expanding product offerings via both organic and inorganic means.
The FMCG and Retail Landscape has changed towards being O2O with increasing profitability of e-Commerce and slowdown of physical retail presence
E-commerce is becoming the focus for both retailers and brand owners, with China becoming the world’s largest e-commerce market. As retail and virtual channels converge, retailers are exploring multichannel solutions—such as click-and-collect stores, pop-up shops, etc to continue engaging consumers from online to offline and vice versa.
Tech Giants and market share
Since the launch of Apple Watch in 2015 and progression to the Series 3 in 2017, traditional Watches and Accessories players have encountered increasing competition for market share. The likes of Fossil and Swatch are now up against the tech giant, and Luxury Watch brands are also expanding their product range to include smart watches. The future could see the rest of the Retail industry competing against traditional Technology firms and incorporating tech features into their products.
More talent in CRM, e-Commerce and Digital
Compared to 2 years ago, the talent pool in CRM, e-Commerce and digital is no longer as scarce but such candidates still do command a premium. Hiring in functions such as e-Commerce, CRM and Digital marketing candidates continues to be robust and now employers are more receptive to hiring candidates directly from marketing agencies, without brand exposure. Specialised functions such as Shopper Marketing and Market Research, especially at the regional and global level are also gaining popularity.
Hiring remains robust in traditional Retail functions
Retail Operations, Sales Management (Regional Distributor / Franchise Management, Domestic Market), Training / Education, Store Design and Visual Merchandising talent focussing on brick and mortar stores are still in demand. 2017 has seen the entrance of some new brands across categories to the Singapore market, for example in Beauty, Mass Fashion / Accessories and Mass Footwear. Both brand principals and distributors continue to experiment with ways to excite consumers; we foresee this trend continuing in 2018.
BCA forecasts a pickup in construction sector, projecting the total value of Singapore contracts awarded in 2018 at between $26 billion and $31 billion - compared to the $24.5 billion awarded last year, with major boost from public sector work. With the strong economic outlook and upturn in property market sentiment, 2018 construction sector is on course to start a strong year. Singapore leads the rest of ASEAN for 2018 property market growth forecasts. We also continuously see more technological shift and adoption in the Construction Industry. From a talent perspective, the majority of the construction sector companies are looking to further strengthen their sales forces in Singapore market.
The semiconductor industry is expected to continue growing in 2018. As the demand for Advanced Analytics & Automation Technology, which is called the 4th industrial revolution, is increasing, so the demand for semiconductors and displays, which are key components, is likely to be large and growing. It is estimated that the global investment in semiconductor equipment will reach US$90.8 billion this year according to the report of IC Insights, while the total investment in South Korea's Samsung Electronics will reach US$26 billion, accounting for more than 20%. As a result, it’s expected to affect job markets in positive ways in 2018.
For generic industrial sectors, hiring for Sales & Marketing talent has picked up since Q4 2017 as many organisations complete their business re-organisations and are ready to bring in the right talent to bring the business forward. Demand for business development and market creation roles remain strongest as companies look at talent who are well-networked and able to bring in business quickly, to win over market share. We have observed a steady increase in hiring for Digital Marketing positions in the B2B space as more organisations start to feel the impact of digitalisation in their business segment. The trend continues for hiring companies to be very selective with candidates outside of the industry finding it difficult to convince hiring managers that their transferable skillsets can bridge the gap of their lack of industry knowledge. With the stabilising oil prices and political sentiments, coupled with the subdued market in the last few years, 2018 should be a year of business recovery and growth with companies across the B2B sector taking advantage of the upward trend to bring in new headcount to grow the business
Brent is holding on above $60 per barrel. The International Energy Agency predicts that oil production will exceed consumption in the first half of 2018 as US output booms, along with Russian Oil producers eager to increase production. Alternative energy remains a long term threat to oil revenues. We anticipate that there will be modest increase in headcounts going into 2018, with the exception of replacement head counts in analytics, trade and structured finance, market risk management.
Coal, gas and power
China’s coal consumption rebounded earlier in 2017, after 3 years of decline. There has been shortage of gas for industry and reports of people facing extreme cold in their homes, hence increasing the continued reliance on coal. China’s imports of LNG have soared, creating a bonanza for suppliers of LNG in Asia markets. For many LNG suppliers, liquefaction capacity holders and LNG traders, 2017 ended on a high: the winter market of 2017/18 looks unexpectedly tight, with Asian LNG prices close to USD 10/MMBtu and oil prices on the rise. The global LNG market readily absorbed around 30 mt of additional supply in 2017. As the demand for short term / spot contracts continues to increase, supply entering the market is also on the rise. 2018 is looking to be an exciting year for downstream and trading players in these sectors as power consumption steadily increases in Asia. Demand for talent in business development, origination, corporate finance, freight operations is likely to take centre stage.
Metals and mining
As the consumer of about half of the world’s raw materials, China will remain the big influence on commodity markets in 2018. Metals and minerals have been buoyant. Helped by solid economic growth, metals have returned 24 percent in 2017, according to the S&P GSCI Industrial Metals Total Return index. In steel, a shift away from environmentally polluting mills to ones that are more efficient, will fuel a need for high-grade iron ore, boosting the profitability of the big suppliers such as BHP Billiton, Vale and Rio Tinto.
Rising freight rates and the increasing likelihood of an occurrence of the La Nina weather phenomenon are among the risks that farmers, investors and commodities traders face in 2018. Traders and farmers will also need to keep a close watch on the movements of speculative investments which have risen sharply. Integrated agriculture players should withstand the headwinds in 2018, as commodities such as coffee, cocoa show signs of growth with increased consumerism and product innovation.
Across these sectors, demand for finance talent with corporate development and working capital management capabilities will continue as players seek to maximise their return on investments and increase profit margins.
Oncology and Rare Diseases led the market in hiring needs and opportunities throughout 2017. Working in either of these therapeutic areas could energize the career and improve possibilities for advancement. Big pharma remained under pressure to operate and be seen to be operating, to the highest ethical standards. The industry began to embrace powerful new technologies with increasing collaboration between pharma and tech giants in R&D. 2017 continued to see a great number of deal activities as the Pharma Majors sought to expand their portfolios and achieve economies of scale.
Another common theme in 2017 was litigation between the biosimilar applicant and the reference product sponsor. Only three more biosimilars have received FDA approval since 2015 and only two are available on the market. Biosimilars still remain as a tantalizing promise of savings to consumers. A lack of generics competition caused drug shortages and rising prices. Since 50% was sold by only two players in 2017, there was a trend towards decreased competition which drew the attention of government policymakers.
For 2018 we anticipate that the new product growth in specialty markets is a trend that will shift market share from the large pharmaceutical companies, to the mid-sized pharmaceutical companies, creating different career options for the more entrepreneurial candidates. Immune-oncology and rare disease will continue to be the top therapeutic areas for development, promotion and hiring. Cardiology and diabetes will also remain big growth areas in 2018.
The hiring outlook for Finance recruitment within Commerce & Industry is largely positive. There is a sustained demand for Finance business partners, supporting different organisations – sales, supply chain, manufacturing etc. As organisations are digitialising their business, there is increasing demand for Finance professionals who can relate to e-commerce platforms and analytics. In a similar vein, there is continued demand for expertise in business intelligence and data mining.
Employers are increasingly seeking geographically mobile professionals to assume key leadership positions based in emerging markets. As organisations go through transformation and change management, Finance professionals have to demonstrate the capabilities to take on special projects
Increasingly, governance professionals are required to have prior commercial operations exposure, in addition to traditional audit experience. As tax audits become more rigorous, tax professionals have to demonstrate stronger commercial acumen.
Recruitment volume remained stable across most sectors throughout 2017. Senior HR professionals who are both strategic and operationally adept, remained in high demand. In this era of constant change and disruption, we see strong demand for HR professionals who have solid experience in organisational design, HR transformation and change. Organisational and leadership development is also a focus as many businesses invest more in talent retention than acquisition. There is on-going demand for strong global mobility professionals as global organisations are encouraging talent mobility across the region as a talent retention tool.
Demand for local Singaporean talent remains at an all-time high as organisations are pushing for a core Singaporean talent pool. Compensation & Benefits specialists remain in high demand for many organisations to benchmark salaries in remaining competitive when attracting talent. However, there is a severe shortage of seasoned C&B specialists. Delayering has also resulted in flatter HR organisations due to stronger emphasis in cost management. Consequently, organisations are keen to hire HR professionals with strong commercial acumen who demonstrate strong multi-task abilities and provide strategic business partnership