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Vacancies filled more quickly in 2017 than 2016, Ministry of Manpower reveals

The Manpower Research & Statistics Department has just released the "Job Vacancies 2017”.

Employers filled vacancies more quickly in 2017 compared to the year before. However, non-PMET positions remained harder to fill than PMET ones, mainly due to unattractive pay, work on weekends/public holidays and shift work. Reflecting the continuing shift towards higher value added jobs, the PMET share of job vacancies continued to rise in 2017.

Reflecting the continuing shift towards higher value-added jobs, the PMET (professionals, managers, executives and technicians) share of job vacancies continued to rise in 2017.  48.5% of job vacancies were for PMETs in September 2017, up from 47.9% in 2016 and 39.2% in 2013. This increase was mainly in PMET-dominated industries such as financial services and wholesale trade. The decline in non-PMET job vacancies were mostly in industries such as food & beverage services, retail trade, real estate services and construction.

The majority of PMET vacancies in 2017 came from public administration & education, financial services, professional services and information & communications. They included software, web & multimedia developers, teaching & training professionals, commercial & marketing sales executives and management executives.  Compared to 2016, there was a notable increase in vacancies for IT and engineering related jobs (e.g. software, web & multimedia developers, systems analysts, computer technicians, civil engineers and mechanical engineers), and a decrease in vacancies for teaching & training professionals and management executives.

Across sectors, the non-PMET vacancies were mainly in administrative & support services, food & beverage services and retail trade which typically had lower staff retention. The top non-PMET job vacancies include security guards, receptionists, customer service & information clerks, shop sales assistants, waiters, cleaners, and material & freight handlers.  Compared to 2016, vacancies for shop sales assistants and security guards decreased, while that for cleaners in other establishments2 and material & freight handlers increased.  

Vacancies were available to jobseekers of all educational levels.  30% of the vacancies required degree qualifications, followed by diploma & professional qualifications (16%), secondary (15%), lower secondary and post-secondary (7% each) education.  Vacancies which required little or no formal education made up the remaining 24% of the total unfilled demand.

For PMETs, academic qualifications were not the main consideration for filling 42% of PMET vacancies. Such positions include civil engineers, commercial & marketing sales executives, and software, web & multimedia developers.  However, these positions typically required working experience. For the majority (90%) of non-PMET vacancies, academic qualifications were not the main consideration when selecting candidates to fill the vacancies.

The proportion of vacancies unfilled for at least six months continued to decline, from 36% in 2016 to 33% in 2017. Non-PMET vacancies remained harder to fill than PMET openings. 49% of non-PMET jobs were unfilled for at least six months, compared to 16% for PMET openings.

Employers continued to indicate unattractive pay, work on weekends/public holidays and shift work as characteristics that made non-PMET openings (in particular service-type jobs) unattractive to locals. On the other hand, the lack of candidates with necessary work experience remained the top reason for PMET openings which were hard to fill.

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