Seeking employment is a crucial part of life, be it getting a first job or switching mid-career.

Most of the time, it’s a stressful process, and it doesn’t help that many other areas of our lives depend on our employment.

So when looking for your next job, it may be worth knowing which industries have the most room for new hires, and which can give you a stable career.

One good thing to know is that employment in Singapore grew by 6,900 in the first half of 2018, excluding foreign domestic workers (FDWs).

On the flipside, 5,350 workers were also retrenched; although this number has decreased from that of the second half of 2017, which recorded 7,080 workers.

Based on the Ministry of Manpower’s Labour Market Report, we found out which sectors retrenched, and which sectors hired the most new employees.

These Jobs Retrenched The Most Employees

Source: Labour Market Report (Second Quarter 2018), Ministry of Manpower

Wholesale trade came in as the industry with the highest number of retrenchments in the first two quarters of this year.

770 workers were laid off in total, from positions such as warehouse keepers, importers, inventory clerks, and wholesale merchants and managers.

Image: AFP

Find out how a logistics manager made a comeback after two years of unemployment. Read about it here.

Employees working in financial services were the second most affected by retrenchment this year.

This has been pretty common in the industry over past years, with finance companies often known to lay off employees when faced with significant organisational risks.

Despite this, retrenchment in finance is currently lower than it has been in previous years, and could continue to decrease.

That’s because earlier this year, 160 banks under the Association of Banks in Singapore committed to new HR guidelines, which require them to provide support for employees affected by retrenchment.

When OCBC announced in July that it would cut half of its bank teller jobs, the company made plans to reassign all affected staff so that none of them lost their jobs.

Image: OCBC

While it’s not in the top 5, it’s also worth noting that 240 employees were laid off from telecommunications, broadcasting and publishing this year.

This could include producers, journalists, marketing executives, network system analysts, and broadcast technicians.

Image: Qvest Media

Most layoffs this year were the results of organisations undertaking restructures.

Singapore Press Holdings’ retrenchment exercise was one of such examples, in which the aim was to reduce the size of its magazines arm from 379 to 300 employees.

These Industries Had The Most Employee Growth

Source: Labour Market Report (Second Quarter 2018), Ministry of Manpower

In June, the MOM reported that retrenchment numbers have dipped to a 5-year low, signalling more stability in the job market.

And since many industries increased their hiring, Singapore’s workforce has grown a fair bit.

The largest number of new employees came from the community, social and personal services sector, which grew by a whopping 6,200 employees excluding FWDs.

New employees in this industry were made up of public administrators, teachers, social workers and caretakers.

This is likely to have been a result of the government’s efforts in providing the sector with more career training and increased wages, in the bid to reach 16,000 social service professionals by 2019.

Image: International Conference on Social Work

Although the finance and communications sectors both saw high numbers of layoffs, they still made it to the top 5 industries with the most employment growth this year.

This goes to show a strong economic recovery, and that opportunities continually open up for new employees to join the workforce.

These Sectors Open Up The Most Job Vacancies

Source: Labour Market Report (Second Quarter 2018), Ministry of Manpower

The Labour Market Report says that the ratio of job vacancies to unemployed people rose to 108 vacancies per 100 job seekers in June 2018, from 104 vacancies in March 2018.

The most job openings were created by the public administration and education industry, while health and social services also made the list.

Both of these form part of the rapidly growing sector of community, social and personal services.

Companies dealing with financial services and wholesale trade are also hiring largely, even though they had significant layoffs this year.

All in all, the broad sector of services is spearheading growth in employment and hiring, and outweighing retrenchments that occur.


2018 seems to be good time for job seekers, especially if you’re looking to go into community and social services, financial services, or any of the other industries on the list.

Or perhaps, if you happen to be seeking a career switch, those sectors could be a direction worth considering too.