Massive layoffs were carried out by big tech companies such as Facebook (Meta), Twitter, Microsoft, Google, Lenovo, and Carousell.
This phenomenon also penetrated tech firms in Singapore, where 1,270 tech professionals were laid off from July to mid-November 2022, and the job cuts have persisted into 2023.
On this matter, many affected workers in Singapore are still struggling to secure employment months after being laid off.
The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) in Singapore released its annual Job Vacancies 2022 report, which revealed that companies are still seeking technology talents such as software, web, and multimedia developers, and applications managers among others. This high demand is due to the ongoing digitization of companies.
Ang Boon Heng, the Director of MOM’s Research Statistics Department, stated that “Employers on average are also willing to pay more for these positions due to the shortage of such specialized skills” (2023).
The report showed that although the number of job vacancies increased in 2022, the proportion of vacancies that remained unfilled for six months or more decreased from 35% in 2021 to 27% in 2022.
Employers cited that Professionals, Managers, Executives, and Technicians (PMET) roles were hard to fill due to unattractive pay, lack of specialized skills, and insufficient work experience, especially for positions requiring technical knowledge.
According to a CNA report, Yorlin Ng, the COO of Momentum Works, stated, “Firms must adjust their priorities to this changing landscape.”
She also added, “When market sentiment shifted, some companies were forced to make cuts and compromise their growth; some companies were prudent to prepare for the unpredictable future; while some others might be just using external factors as a better excuse to trim costs” (CNA, 2023).
Now that we are almost back to normal operations and border restrictions have been lifted, vacancies are gradually backfilled as foreign laborers returned.
Other findings also showed that the proportion of job vacancies that can be done remotely decreased from 31% in 2021 to 21% in 2022.
In terms of hiring, academic qualifications were not the main factor in the 74% of job vacancies in 2022, compared to 73% in 2021. The report stated that employers primarily considered the skills and work attitude of the job applicants when making hiring decisions.