ICT sector shows strongest hiring intentions in Singapore

Zafirah Salim

The ICT sector is showing the strongest intentions to hire with a net 55.3% of employers looking to increase headcount, up 2.9 percentage points (pp) from the first half of 2015. This is the strongest net hiring sentiment in the ICT sector since 2011, according to the latest The Hudson Report: Employment Trends.

Emmanuel White, Regional Director, Hudson Singapore, said that the ICT sector has shown sustained growth over the past 12 months as companies look more towards investing and updating their IT infrastructure.

"We are currently seeing a demand for IT solution sales roles, a trend driven by specialised IT vendors that are new to the market and have developed technology in areas such as big data, cloud solutions, business intelligence and security solutions," he added.

Besides the ICT sector, the professional services sector is also showing strong intentions to hire, with a net 43.6% of employers looking to increase headcount from H1 2015.  

Meanwhile, the healthcare and life sciences sector is showing the sharpest increase in intentions to hire out of all sectors, with a net 34.3% of employers looking to increase headcount in the second half of the year.

As Singapore positions itself as a global medical technology hub, White said more pharmaceutical companies are establishing bases here, which is having a positive effect on hiring.

"We are also seeing a consolidation trend in the sector, as companies acquire competitors or form joint venture partnerships in the region. As a result, there is a high demand - and a shortage of supply - for technical roles such as clinical specialists and senior positions at director level including more global industry experts," added White.

On the flipside, the banking and finance industry has shown the strongest decline in hiring intentions among all the sectors, with a net 21.9% of employers intending to increase headcount in the second half of the year.

"The sector, and particularly international banks, is facing some challenges, and that appears to be impacting capacity for adding new headcount. As has been well documented, China demand is easing, plus with uncertainty over the Eurozone, it's not surprising to see a softening in demand in this climate," said White. "That said, we are seeing an increase in hiring activity from Asian banks. These institutions are certainly hiring, and private wealth relationship managers are particularly in demand at present."

Reflecting on the overall results, White feels that Singapore is well placed for a steady half year of hiring ahead, particularly in pockets such as ICT, professional services, life sciences and sales across all sectors.

The hiring market is still robust, he added, with one in three employers looking to increase their permanent headcount in the second half of the year.