Our CEO, Declan O’Sullivan has recently been interviewed by The Business Times to share updates on the current recruitment situation, affected by Covid-19.
The coronavirus pandemic-fuelled recession that has arrived on Singapore shores is expected to claim tens of thousands of workers in 2020, with net job creation at least a year away.
In response, the government has unveiled a SGUnited Jobs and Skills Package that aims to support some 100,000 job seekers with a mix of new jobs and training positions, in both the public and private sectors.
According to Manpower Minister Josephine Teo, 7,000 vacancies will be made immediately available and two-thirds of these are PMET opportunities.
On a solely numerical basis, DBS senior economist Irvin Seah, who closely watches professional, manager, executive and technician (PMET) employment, said that these openings ought to absorb the number of PMETs who were put out of work in the last four quarters.
He also expects other PMET roles to come onto the market in specialised areas such as financial services. This was affirmed by Monetary Authority of Singapore managing director Ravi Menon who recently said that the financial services sector is still tipped to be a net creator of jobs this year.
“But the caveat is that PMET jobs tend to be quite specialised jobs,” Mr Seah warned. “We have to ensure that there is a good job match and, if required, there needs to be training.”
Given the dire business climate, parts of the private sector are also pulling back on jobs: 11 per cent of employers polled recently by recruitment firm Kerry Consulting said that they are downsizing, while 15 per cent have imposed a hiring freeze. Just 21 per cent of the 650 human resource professionals who were surveyed said Covid-19 has had no impact on workforce planning activities.
In the executive search area where Kerry Consulting operates, chief executive Declan O’Sullivan said that employers across all industries are trying to up their local recruitment. But “the idea that this tiny population could feed all these regional centres… is absolutely impossible”, he added.
As for higher-wage earners, Mr O’Sullivan told BT that “we’re seeing a bit more activity” after four months of a de facto hiring freeze: “That’s coming off a bit, but only a bit.”