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Jobs Situation Report 19th Edition

WSG helped over 10,000 employers get new staff or transform jobs

1. The 19th Jobs Situation Report (JSR) focuses on recruitment strategies employers can implement to boost their manpower efforts, as well as the avenues put in place by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) and Workforce Singapore (WSG) to help employers overcome their hiring challenges.

More Support for Employers during Pandemic

2. In 2020, WSG and its partners – unions, agencies and employers – placed close to 55,000 locals into jobs, traineeships and attachments. This is complemented by efforts that were ramped up to support employers. As a result, WSG helped over 10,000 employers from a broad range of sectors. About half of them are from the following 10 sectors:

• Construction
• Education
• Financial Services
• Food Services
• ICT and Media
• Logistics
• Precision Engineering
• Professional Services
• Retail
• Wholesale Trade

3. These efforts include increasing outreach activities, expanding career conversion programmes, and introducing job transformation programmes to help them meet their changing manpower needs. The following table summarises the impact of these efforts.

Summary of WSG’s and MOM’s efforts to address employers’ manpower challenges in 2020



Compared with 2019

Placements through WSG programmes and career matching services

More than 10,300 employers benefited, about 90% are SMEs.

~45% increase

Ramping up of career conversion programmes for new mid-career hires

Over 1,500 employers benefited, of which more than 90% are SMEs.

~10% increase


  • Virtual and Physical Career Fairs
  • Virtual Job Interviews
  • Walk-in Interviews

140 events organised to help employers access a bigger pool of talent.

>20% increase

Job Transformation Efforts

  • Industry 4.0 Human Capital Initiative
  • Job Redesign Reskilling Programmes
  • Enhanced support for Job Redesign under Productivity Solutions Grant

Close to 350* employers benefited, about 90% were SMEs.


*excludes PSG-JR which was launched on 1 Dec 2020

N.A. as all three programmes started in 2020

Tapping on MyCareersFuture Portal to post jobs

More than 35,600 employers have actively posted on MCF.

54% increase

Recruitment Strategies that Work

4. The 18th JSR had focused on jobseekers and how WSG and NTUC’s e2i helped them overcome barriers to accessing job opportunities. However, employers too face common challenges during the hiring process. This edition of the JSR examines recruitment strategies that can help employers overcome such challenges.

(A) Beyond plug-and-play: investing in skills top-up

5. Employers tend to believe that the jobseekers must have the full set of requisite skills to be ready for the job and generally prefer the “plug-and-play” approach, seeking experienced jobseekers who can hit the ground running. However, skills shortages in emerging areas will often mean that demand outstrips supply, resulting in unfilled vacancies even as wages spike.

6. Employers need to consider reviewing their approach. Many government schemes help with training, which allow them to expand the pool of recruits, including mid-career individuals. In many cases, these transitions are not too difficult. Mid-career jobseekers have transferable skills; with appropriate skills top-up, they can be effective in new roles.


How MOM and WSG Help

Career Conversion Programmes – These help employers access a wider talent pool and defray the costs of hiring and reskilling a mid-career new hire into the company. Employers will also receive support to for structured classroom and on-the-job training programme to build up the mid-career hire’s industry experience and domain skills specific to their firm’s needs.

SGUnited Traineeships and SGUnited Mid-Career Pathway Programme – These give employers and jobseekers the opportunity to assess their fit with the new job role or sector whilst helping the latter build up skills and experience amid a slack labour market. They are especially useful for companies who may still be more cautious in terms of hiring due to the economic situation or who are keen to use the schemes as a screening tool to try out talents from diverse disciplines and backgrounds. In 2020, more than 1,300 employers came onboard these programmes to provide jobseekers with such opportunities.

Capability Transfer Programme – This programme helps companies to build deep capabilities within their local workforce by speeding up the transfer of cutting-edge global capabilities into Singapore. It defrays the cost of bringing in foreign specialists for a limited duration to facilitate capability development.

Career Trial – This programme allows employers to provide jobseekers with short-term trial to assess their fit with the job requirements and company culture.

(B) Beyond wages: transforming jobs into careers

7. Jobseekers often have higher aspirations that go beyond remuneration. They desire jobs with clear progression pathways, and which allow them to build a meaningful career with positive impact on society. Many also want better work-life balance. Employers who adapt to these aspirations tend to have better recruitment success.

8. To improve their appeal to jobseekers, employers can consider:
(i) Redesigning job roles and emphasising their impact to society;
(ii) Articulating their plans to achieve business success; and
(iii) Highlighting how they share gains and invest in people.

9. By transforming jobs into careers and adapting to current aspirations, not only will employers attract the talent they need, they also retain employees and increase productivity.

How MOM and WSG Help

Enhanced support for Job Redesign under Productivity Solutions Grant – This programme helps make redesigning jobs easier by providing employers with JR consultancy support to complement and drive their business and workforce transformation. Enterprises can receive funding support to engage pre-approved JR consultants who will help redesign work processes, tasks and responsibilities.

Job Redesign Reskilling Programmes – These programmes help employers to equip existing workers with new skillsets to take on new, enhanced or redesigned job roles within the organisation as they undergo business transformation. This allows employers, especially those who face manpower crunch, to keep their workers by forging more attractive and better career progression for them.

Industry 4.0 Human Capital Initiative (IHCI) Enabler Programme – This programme, as part of the broader IHCI, aims to drive greater industry-level adoption of i4.0, HR capability development and job redesign efforts to complement company transformation with workforce transformation for firms from the manufacturing and logistics sectors. The 8-week-long programme helps companies learn and trial i4.0 technologies, develop accompanying job redesign roadmap and companies’ HR capability to better support their efforts.

Services Industry Transformation Programme – This programme provides capability building, onsite training and workplace mentorship to companies from the services sector which wish to transform their business through service design and digitalisation. The companies will embark on job design and workforce transformation to enhance workforce productivity and service delivery.

Job Transformation Maps (JTM) – The JTMs provide detailed insights on the impact of technology and automation on the industry and workforce, by identifying the key technologies that are driving change, the impact on individual job roles, and the new pathways for employers to transform jobs and for workers to acquire requisite skills as job roles evolve. Employers, especially SMEs, TACs and workers can tap on the JTMs to prepare themselves for the future of work as technology adoption becomes more pervasive in their sectors.

(C) Rethinking Job Descriptions

10. The strategies outlined in (A) and (B) constitute a two-prong approach to become more attractive employers. However, these efforts can be negated by ineffective job postings.

11. To get better responses from job applicants, employers can rethink:
(i) Welcoming applicants from other sectors or occupations;
(ii) Stating upfront training provision to bridge skills gaps;
(iii) Appropriate years of experience required, especially for entry-level roles;
(iv) Articulating the responsibilities and impact of the role on the company (or society at large);
(v) Highlighting the company’s culture (including any flexible working arrangements) as well as long-term vision and goals.

12. Consider the following two examples of job postings found on MyCareersFuture portal for a front office executive role. Despite Hotel B having offered a lower salary range, they were able to attract more applicants compared to Hotel A. This could be due to Hotel B’s willingness to provide on-the-job training, its detailed articulation of the role’s purpose and responsibilities, and its open-ness towards different skillsets.

Hotel A

Job: Guest Service Executive

Salary: Between $2,300 to $2,600

Experience required: 1 year

No. of applicants: 9

What their JD comprises:

  • Very short and concise description of the responsibilities (e.g. …Hotel front desk experience) but no indication of purpose of role
  • Articulated preference for certain skillsets (e.g. …best has knowledge in Opera operating system)
  • Highlighted that meals are provided, and work is done in 12hours, 5 days shift

Hotel B

Job: Front Office – Hotel Services Executive

Salary: $1,800 to $2,400

Experience required: 1 year

No. of applicants: 55

What their JD comprises:

  • Indicated upfront that coaching and guidance will be given
  • No preference indicated for certain skillsets.
  • Purpose of the role is articulated (e.g. …meet and exceed guest expectations by providing efficient and courteous Front Desk service in accordance with Legendary Quality Experiences.)
  • Detailed articulation of job responsibilities (e.g. …demonstrate teamwork by cooperating with and assisting colleagues as needed; …establish good working knowledge of the accounting department…)

On the Road to Successful Business Transformation

13. As our economy continues to undergo restructuring, existing jobs will be transformed, and new ones will be created. We will push on with our efforts to help employers fill new vacancies and support them in transforming their existing workforce to meet new needs.

14. Employers can also sustain their business growth in the long term by looking beyond immediate manpower challenges to transform operations and improve job quality for workers. This creates a virtuous cycle where employers are able to create high quality jobs that not only attract new talents but also retain good workers who have been with the company for a long time.

15. Take PARKROYAL on Kitchener Road for example, a more than 40-year-old hotel that used the downtime to rejuvenate its establishment, enhance guest experience and increase productivity and efficiency in their day-to-day operations through technology. This includes reducing the average daily manhours taken for the housekeeping and maintenance teams to check on the guestrooms (including room cleaning and laundry) from 12.5 hours to 2.5 hours with the use of their new Inncom System.

16. Besides transforming its hardware, the hotel also used the opportunity to transform and invest in its “heartware” – its jobs and people. Tapping on the Job Redesign Reskilling Programme for Hotel industry, PARKROYAL on Kitchener Road redesigned their jobs and trained their staff so that they are well-equipped with relevant skillsets to assume the enhanced and tech-enabled roles confidently. They also implemented robust change management and ensured that their workers understand and assimilate the purpose of the transformation and the hotel’s vision and goals.

17. By marrying both business and workforce transformations, the hotel was able to mitigate the worst effects of the pandemic and overcome their manpower crunch for the long term as 35% of their workers are now skilled in multiple functions and ready to be deployed to where demands are. The hotel aims to have their staff fully multi-skilled and versatile with their job scope whilst extending their career runway and increasing their job satisfaction.

18. One of them is 32-year-old Operations Executive, Jonathan Chan who now has more time for guest interactions as the amount of paperwork has reduced with the implementation paperless check-in solutions. With the strong support of his team leader, Gobi, Jonathan was able to pick up new skills from the ground up. Despite the industry having been badly hit by the pandemic, Jonathan decided to stay as he enjoyed his frontline role in hospitality and sees potential to grow. No two days are the same and he gets to interact with people from all walks of life and share his love for Singapore with them.

19. As the global landscape and industries continue to transform amid the pandemic, we hope more will emulate employers like PARKROYAL on Kitchener Road. We will continue to step up our efforts to help employers meet their manpower needs while responding to the new challenges coming our way.

For More Information

20. To find out more about:
a. WSG’s workshops for employers, please call WSG’s hotline at 6883 5885.
b. WSG’s programmes and career advisory and matching services, please visit (QR code below) or call WSG’s hotline at 6883 5885.
c. Upcoming engagement and outreach events organised by WSG and NTUC’s e2i, jobseekers can visit or
d. Tips and advice to sharpen and streamline hiring process, please visit

QR code for WSG