Based on MOM's latest Job Vacancies 2020 report, here's your guide on roles that were most in-demand last year, which may be easier or harder to attract in 2021, as well as how to better plan your recruitment strategies for the year.


While the COVID-19 pandemic had indeed impacted Singapore's economy in 2020, one thing that can't be overlooked is how much it has accelerated the pace of digital transformation. This, as a result, has increased the demand for more tech-savvy roles - in particular, ICT professionals.

According to the Ministry of Manpower's (MOM) Job Vacancies 2020 report, published by the Manpower Research and Statistics Department's (MRSD) on Friday (9 April), IT development roles such as software, web and multimedia developers, and systems analysts were the most sought after in 2020, with demand for such roles rising in the recent five years.

At the same time, combined with the rise of Big Data, organisations were increasingly hiring for associated roles such as data analytics and cybersecurity professionals. This is a trend that looks set to continue under Singapore's Smart Nation initiative and as businesses ramp up their digital capabilities, the MRSD noted.

Apart from ICT roles, other roles that saw a rise in demand in 2020 included business development and sales roles, as well as positions in the healthcare sector.

On the non-PMET front, most job vacancies were for roles such as cleaners and security guards, as businesses stepped up efforts on sanitation and enforcement of safe distancing. Consumer-facing roles such as shop sales assistants and waiters also ranked high, reflecting the resumption of business operations after Circuit Breaker measures were lifted; while the demand for construction labourers also rose, as the sector gradually restarted construction activities.

Overall, the report revealed the top 10 job vacancies available for professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs) and non-PMETs last year, along with the range of the top skills required for these roles. Human Resources Online has shared this data below, as a guide on what to note in terms of which roles may be easier or harder to attract this year, as well as how to better plan your talent attraction and recruitment strategies in 2021.

Top 10 PMET job vacancies in Singapore, 2020

#1 Software, web & multimedia developer
#2 Commercial & marketing sales executive
#3 Systems analyst
#4 Teaching and training professional
#5 Registered nurse and other nursing professional
#6 Management executive
#7 Business development manager
#8 Operations officer (Except transport operations)
#9 Civil engineer
#10 Enrolled/assistant nurse

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Top 10 non-PMET job vacancies in Singapore, 2020

#1 Cleaner
#2 Security guard
#3 Shop sales assistant
#4 Waiter
#5 Construction labourer
#6 Receptionist, customer service and information clerk
#7 Material & freight handling worker
#8 General office clerk
#9 Heavy truck and lorry driver
#10 Kitchen assistant

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 priya april 2021 mom job vacancies 2020 report chart 8 non pmet roles resized

Top positions that were unfilled for at least six months

Further to the above, the report also showcased the top five PMET and non-PMET roles that were unfilled in 2020, as well as the reasons these were hard to fill by residents. These are detailed in the table below.

priya april 2021 mom job vacancies 2020 report chart 5 hard to fill roles resized 

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Newly-created positions made up 45% of unfilled jobs last year

Among the job openings in 2020, 45% were for newly-created positions, an increase compared to the past two years. Per the report, expansion into new functions, job restructuring and redesign in the firms contributed to the bulk of the increase. It also noted this could also be attributed to the various government initiatives carried out last year to support companies’ business transformation, coupled with digitalisation efforts.

priya april 2021 mom job vacancies 2020 report chart 1 types of vacancies resized

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The highest proportion of job vacancies for newly-created positions was seen in information & communications and financial & insurance services, more so than a year ago. Software, web & multimedia developers, systems analysts, and commercial & marketing sales executives made up 38% of the newly-created roles in these two sectors, with the accelerated adoption of digital technologies.

Additionally, among the new job vacancies created in 2020, most were for permanent headcount (76%). The share of new fixed-term contract positions also rose over the year (18% to 24%), led by public administration & education and health & social services as the COVID-19 pandemic created new temporary manpower needs, for example, to support increased testing and healthcare functions.

71.5% of job vacancies did not state academic qualifications as the main consideration 

Apart from the above, it was also found that more employers were not looking at academic qualifications as the main consideration for filling positions last year. This, however, was more common among non-PMET vacancies, as compared to PMET vacancies.

In specific, the proportion of PMET job vacancies that did not list academic qualifications as a key consideration stood at 59%, versus 88% of non-PMET job vacancies. That said, there still was a rise in this, as compared to the previous years.

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Lead image and infographics / MRSD's Job Vacancies 2020 report

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