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October 18, 2016

SINGAPORE — More employers are having problems filling job vacancies, a worldwide survey has found, reflecting the mismatch in jobs and skills that government leaders recently highlighted while addressing the rising number of layoffs.

The Talent Shortage Survey, released on Tuesday (Oct 18) by workforce solutions provider ManpowerGroup, showed that sales representatives, engineers, technicians, accounting and finance professionals, as well as drivers are the top five jobs in Singapore that are not being taken up.

More than 42,000 employers in 42 countries were surveyed and 40 per cent of them have trouble filling jobs — the highest level in nine years.

Slightly more than half of the employers here (51 per cent) reported facing difficulty in filling jobs, a jump of 11 per cent from last year, the survey showed.

These employers said that the top reason for that is the job-seeker’s lack of experience (22 per cent), or the candidate was looking for more pay than offered (21 per cent), or there was a lack of or no applicants (17 per cent).

To address this shortage, 52 per cent of the employers here are offering training and development to existing workers, ManpowerGroup said in a press release, while 47 per cent are paying higher salary packages to recruits.

The Government’s latest labour market report showed that there were more job-seekers than the number of job vacancies available, and in the first half of the year, professionals, managers, executives and technicians made up about 56 per cent of layoffs.

In Parliament last week, Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say addressed this problem in the job market, saying there is a need to minimise the mismatch in jobs and skills, given that many job-seekers have higher expectations and aspirations, and do not want jobs that have been newly vacated by others. Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam also said last month that Singapore faces “a big task” in matching people to jobs and in reducing the mismatches in workers’ skills and what jobs require.

Ms Linda Teo, country manager of ManpowerGroup Singapore, said: “Upskilling our Singapore workforce is critical to ensure organisations have the skills they need to accelerate performance and everyone has access to the opportunities on offer.

“The best organisations know this, which is why we’ve seen a marked rise in the number of businesses focusing on training and development to fill talent gaps. We expect to see this number grow.”

In the Asia-Pacific region, almost half of the employers (46 per cent) report hiring difficulties, with Japan, Taiwan and Hong Kong reporting the most challenges.

The survey found that, overall, employers worldwide are looking inside their organisations for solutions to tackle this rapid change in skills requirements, with more than half choosing to develop and train their own people. This is a big increase from last year’s survey, when just 20 per cent of employers prioritized training and development to fill roles or find new skills.

For the first time globally, the IT sector found itself among the top five spots for industries with hard-to-fill roles, and IT businesses are reporting the most marked talent shortage in a number of years.

Click on the infographic below to download it:
image of technician shortage infographic

*Image and article from