THE weaker state of the economy has resulted in fewer job openings in Singapore, new data released by the Manpower Ministry (MOM) indicated on Wednesday.
The number of job vacancies declined over the year to 60,000 in September last year, down from a high of 67,400 the year before.
The job vacancy rate was 2.7 per cent, down from 3.2 per cent a year earlier. This rate, which is a measure of Singapore's labour market tightness, refers to the share of vacancies out of total manpower demand.
The 17-page report on the job-vacancy situation, produced by the MOM's Manpower Research and Statistics Department, counted 116 openings for every 100 job seekers in the three months from July to September 2015. This is fewer than the 121 openings in June and 143 in March 2015.
More than four in 10 vacancies (43 per cent) were for the PMET group (comprising professionals, managers, executives and technicians); teachers, multimedia developers and marketing sales executives were among the most sought after.
During the quarter, the services sector was looking for workers to fill some 12,270 vacancies - 23 per cent of the total - for positions such as waiters, security guards and shop sales assistants.
The proportion of vacancies unfilled for at least six months stood at 39 per cent in September, down slightly from 41 per cent a year earlier.
MOM said that occupations that are in higher demand and which have higher turnover, such as service and sales workers and cleaners, labourers and related workers, remained more likely to be hard to fill.
It was a different story for non-PMET openings; only two in 10 openings stayed unfilled for extended periods.
These findings in the MOM report were collated from information provided by 14,700 organisations from both the public and private sector, which were polled between Sept 28 and Nov 12 last year.
The annual report also listed the occupations most in demand, the top-hiring industries and the qualifications and work experience required by employers.
The ministry cited unattractive pay, long hours, the strenuous nature of the job and shift work as some key reasons employers have found it tough to hire locals to fill non-PMET openings.
On the other hand, unattractive pay and the lack of necessary experience were the common reasons for hard-to-fill PMET openings.
There were vacancies in jobs requiring the range of educational levels, with more openings at both ends, in particular those that require at least primary or lower (25 per cent) and university-degree qualifications (24 per cent).
There were also openings for those holding secondary qualifications (19 per cent) and those with diplomas and professional qualifications (17 per cent).
In a statement, MOM said companies would have to improve the quality and attractiveness of their jobs to fill up their vacancies more quickly.
"Likewise, jobseekers will also have to make themselves more employable and adaptable to land a job faster," the ministry added.
Going forward, the ministry said it would continue to work with its tripartite partners - the unions and the employers - to strengthen the Singaporean core in the workforce.
It pledged to do this by creating more quality jobs to meet the rising career aspirations of Singaporeans, equipping them with the right skills and competencies through the SkillsFuture movement and better matching these individuals with higher-skilled jobs.
The fresh figures come a week after the MOM announced that Singapore registered its lowest year-on-year employment growth last year since 2003. Total employment grew an estimated 31,800 - or 0.9 per cent - amid the gloomy global economic conditions, slower economic growth and restrictions on the supply of foreign manpower here.
The full job vacancies report can be found at stats.mom.gov.sg