Internal auditors, underwriters and business development managers are just three of the professionals sought by employers as candidate movement and the need to refill critical roles impact hiring decisions, says recruiting expert Hays in Singapore.

According to the recruiter’s latest Hays Quarterly Hotspots list of skills in demand, people are entering the jobs market to find a new role, which is fuelling vacancy activity.

Current vacancy activity is dominated by the need to replace critical departing staff. The willingness of candidates to explore their options is a sign of their confidence that the jobs market can improve their prospects.

While most roles are replacements, there have also been some new positions created in companies that are restructuring, moving functions into Singapore or expanding. As a result, overall vacancy activity is expected to increase this quarter.

A current challenge is the preference for local candidates. Employers prefer Singaporeans due to tightening government visa regulations for foreigners. But given the shortage of local talent in many professional areas, demand will continue to outweigh supply.

According to Hays, another trend impacting Singapore’s recruitment market is the increasing popularity of temporary and contract recruitment as organisations act to fill a skills gap quickly.

Recruiting temporary or contract staff allows an employer to overcome headcount freezes if they exist in the organisation and try out a candidate before offering him a permanent position.

In addition, the benefits offered by employers are becoming more in line with permanent roles, which is attracting more candidates to temporary assignments.

As a result, Singapore will continue to see the effect of a maturing contract market as more companies increase their mix of temporary and contract workers.

Here is a selection of skills in demand in Singapore from the latest Hays Quarterly Hotspots:

•  Tax professionals: There will be a shortage of tax professionals in this quarter, particularly indirect tax specialists. In the greatest demand are candidates with a mix of both commercial and private practice experience, while regional experience and transfer pricing experience are also viewed favourably.

•  Internal auditors: Auditors with both commercial and audit firm experience are sought. Given the nature of the job, which involves extensive travel, candidates often move into other areas of finance after a few years. This depletes the pool of suitable candidates for internal audit vacancies.

•  Costing: Banks and financial services companies will continue to cut costs, fuelling high demand for top-quality costing professionals.

•  Risk and compliance: Continual changes in the regulatory landscape have seen vacancy activity increase for risk and compliance professionals as banks bolster these teams.

•  Site managers, construction managers, tunnel engineers, tunnel managers and quantity surveyors: There will be more vacancies for permanent jobs in response to upcoming MRT projects. Given Singapore’s low unemployment rate and construction skill shortages, high demand for these roles is likely to continue.

•  Telesales executives: This is a challenging and, at times, highly stressful role. Not all candidates excel at telephone sales, and those who do are in high demand.

•  Structural managers: Given the high volume of infrastructure projects in Singapore, experienced structural managers are essential to the successful completion of projects and are therefore in high demand.

•  Secretaries (banking): Turnover traditionally peaks in the banking industry before the bonus period comes up again, and this year is no different. This has created high demand for secretaries to fill vacated roles.

•  Underwriters: There is a shortage of underwriters in the local market and so competition to attract top talent is high. In addition, industry consolidation is resulting in increased demand for reinsurance underwriters.

•  Business development managers: There is continued demand for sales generation and top-line growth candidates.

•  Reservoir engineers, senior geophysicists and geologists: With existing and new fields in Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam in particular driving the Asian oil and gas market, local independent operators and majors are continually looking for these candidates to support offshore and onshore drilling operations.

•  Market intelligence managers: Companies are looking to improve their understanding of consumer behaviour and buying patterns, and this is creating high demand for market intelligence managers.

•  Supply chain planners: Employers are looking for efficient supply chain professionals who can review the feasibility of customers’ orders and offer solutions by having a close understanding of production capacity and lead time, material availability and available shipping and distribution options.


For the full list of skills in demand, view Hays Quarterly Hotspots at

Article by Chris Mead, regional director of Hays in Singapore and Malaysia. Hays is a leading recruiting expert in qualified, professional and skilled people. For more information, visit