in 2017


Key drivers

Wage pressure in high-skill occupations (7.6)

Fast earnings growth in professional occupations has widened the wage spread between high-and lower-skilled occupations.

Wage pressure in high-skill industries (7.7)

Wage growth in lower-skill industries, including administrative services and transport, exceeded that in high-skill ones. This narrowed Singapore’s industry wage gaps.

Labour market participation (5.7)

Singapore’s labour market participation rate, which is the highest amongst the Hays countries, is expected to decline slightly this year, putting pressure on firms seeking to recruit.


Education flexibility


Labour market participation


Labour market flexibility


Talent mismatch


Overall wage pressure


Wage pressure in high-skill industries


Wage pressure in high-skill occupation


View from the Ground

The last few years has seen Singapore’s economic growth slow, as the nation felt the effects of its susceptibility to global trade movements. However, the recent uplift in hiring will continue to increase throughout 2018 and beyond. The Government’s continued drive towards ensuring Singapore’s transformation into a leading digital innovative economy means that demand, and therefore wages in highly-skilled occupations that support this initiative, continue to rise. The available talent pool for Singapore employers to tap into remains a key concern across a wide range of industries and occupations. A shrinking workforce as a result of an ageing population, coupled with a tighter immigration policy, continues to put pressure on firms seeking to recruit.

Grant Torrens, Business Director, Hays Singapore

COUNTRY profile

In 2017, the numbers employed fell by 0.2%. The first year in which it had fallen since 2003. This reflected the contraction in construction and manufacturing employment, which more than offset the growth in jobs in services. The size of the labour force contracted less rapidly, causing a slight increase in the unemployment rate.

GDP growth is forecast to slow from the 3.6% in 2017. This reflects weaker export growth as Chinese import demand cools and global electronics demand slows.

Longer term, a report from the Committee on the Future Economy released in 2017 laid out technology-driven plans to maintain growth momentum as the population rapidly ages: the number of those aged 64+ was equivalent to 17% of the working age population in 2016, up from 12% at the start of the decade.

Key skills in demand

  • Data Analytics
  • Development (Emerging technologies)
  • Internal Audit & Controls
  • Digital Content Specialists
  • Finance Business Partners