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Singapore wage growth to cool but strong hiring for new tech jobs to continue: Randstad report

SINGAPORE'S strong wage growth in 2018 may moderate this year amid uncertainties in the global economy but certain sectors are still likely to boost headcount, a report said.

Sectors that will continue to grow are information technology and communications, life sciences, and digital marketing, according to the 2019 market outlook report by recruitment agency Randstad.

"With digital transformation projects ongoing in Singapore and new technologies being adopted at a rapid pace, the employment scene for the technology sector will be bullish in 2019, with demand exceeding supply," the report said. "Across the board, the tech sector will see increments in salaries. Those with expertise in cloud computing, financial technology, backend architecture and cybersecurity will see the maximum increments in 2019."

The fintech sector in Singapore is in a "hyper-growth stage," and fintech companies are increasingly attracting job-seekers from both the financial and tech sectors, thanks to the perks such as a high salary and benefits packages, Randstad highlighted.

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Cyber security was singled out as another area where jobs will be added, given that the government is investing heavily in developing talent, while companies across various sectors are looking to strengthen their cyber security teams to fend off cyber attacks, said Randstad.

In the life sciences sector, jobs likely to see higher demand this year include data scientists and data analysts, while life sciences companies are also keen on better qualified candidates such as those with PhDs and Master's degree holders to work as medical science liaison officers (MSLs) to engage healthcare professionals.

"Next year, we will likely see a spike in demand for such techno-commercial roles, specifically MSLs and application specialists," the report said. Salary increments in life sciences this year are expected to be in the range of 5-10 per cent, while high performing candidates might receive up to 15 per cent.

Meanwhile, digital marketing is increasingly important to more companies but they may still struggle to hire specialists with the expertise needed. "This candidate-short market presents itself as an opportunity for people who are looking to upskill, as well as for the government to step up its offering of digital marketing courses and programmes that will further develop the capabilities of our local talent tomeet the rising global demand," the report added.

Finally, the report pointed to strong demand for specialised accounting and finance professionals this year. "We expect companies to actively hire experienced internal auditors with strong data management and analytical skills this year. We have also seen companies create new roles within the tax functions and hire experts to handle narrow and specific job scopes such as corporate tax, transfer pricing and goods and services tax (GST)," it concluded, adding that this is a trend likely to continue.