Sales & Marketing Market Update 2000x500 Min

Profile Sales & Marketing Market Update, Singapore, Jan 2017

The following report provides an update on the key trends that we have observed within the Sales & Marketing job market in Singapore. It identifies emerging themes across various industries and details the major factors impacting hiring and talent movement.


  • Singapore’s once robust market has transformed to one of uncertainty and constant change. This can be attributed to the fact that many companies, multinationals and local conglomerates, across various industries, undertook restructuring and downsizing exercises last year.

  • Despite a poor start to the year characterised by a large number of layoffs in the first half, the Singapore economy finished on a high with a stronger than expected Q4 which put the GDP growth figure for 2016 at 1.8%.

  • The retail sector took a hit last year with many retailers suffering from the effects of high operating costs, a tighter labour market, and increased competition from online retailers. The finance and insurance sectors, however, were clear standouts again last year, with economists estimating that these sectors have accounted for much of Singapore’s growth over the last 3 years.


  • Digital spending appears to be on the rise, with a recent research report indicating that Singapore’s expenditure on digital will account for 67% of the total media spend by 2016. According to PwC’s annual Global Entertainment and Media Outlook 2012-2016, Singapore’s total entertainment and media market size will be worth US$5.3 billion in 2016, up from US$4.3 billion in 2012. Brands are realising the importance of having a prominent online presence in order to remain competitive, and will continue to embrace digital initiatives as part of their overall business strategy, irrespective of sector. In particular, SEO, programmatic and e-commerce were the key digital functions at the forefront last year, and candidates with these skills have been highly sought after.

  • The surge in digital brings additional regulatory and compliance issues for companies. As a result, organisations are investing in professionals who are well versed in navigating this space, particularly those with government relations and public policy experience. This trend is expected to continue over the longer-term.

  • Sales, key account management and business development functions are key to driving profit and growth within an organisation. As such, professionals with deep sales experience remain highly sought after by companies looking to expand and grow their business. With competition stiff, companies are on the lookout for top talent, particularly candidates with a stellar track record and a strong industry network.   

  • In the world of Banking and Finance in Asia the demand for product marketing candidates has soared in Asia since 2015 as asset managers expand their teams. Global asset management companies are pushing their wholesale and retail businesses regionally, and as private wealth grows, many firms see effective product marketing as key to wooing high-net-worth clients and as a collaborative tool with intermediaries. In light of this, the demand for such talent is high, yet talent is scarce and jobs outnumber applicants. The most sought-after individuals possess strong content knowledge with investment writing and marketing project experience. The talent pool for this hybrid experience is small because the majority either come solely from an investment writing background, without any marketing know-how, or vice versa.

  • There has been an increasing number of companies in Singapore that are looking to source candidates locally for overseas assignments within the ASEAN region. This trend is reflective of organisations looking to capitalise on emerging and high growth markets, and their need for sourcing top Sales & Marketing talent.


  • Salary increases last year were in the vicinity of 8% to 10%. However, it was not uncommon for some of the top multinationals to pay less than this average. Bonuses across the board were not as attractive compared to previous years.

  • Candidates within the digital, e-commerce, analytics and data science sectors received generous salary increases last year, with rises ranging from 12% to 15%.


  • 2016 was a challenging year for global organisations, especially within the consumer and retail sectors. Retailers experienced a dip in sales across stores, and have had to come to terms with consumer-spending patterns shifting towards online e-commerce channels. These challenges will persist in the years ahead, and companies with firm strategies in place will be ahead of the game.

  • With big data making headlines over the past 5 years, it is clear that the new age of marketing is all about the impact that new technologies will have on a consumer’s shopping experience, both online and in-store. This trend is expected to continue well into the future, and as such, there will be increased pressure on the new age marketer to raise the bar and the marketability of businesses.

  • Travel retail clients are following the footsteps of the broader retail sector and are establishing an online presence, with Asia Pacific being its largest and fastest growing region. Despite the travel retail sector embracing online, its brick-and-mortar retail stores continue to be their bread and butter.

  • Singapore still remains an attractive regional hub for foreign startups. Strong political and economical stability are the pull factors.

  • Professionals with strong sales, government relations, product marketing, as well as digital, analytics, and e-commerce experience will continue to be in high demand in the coming years.


Karen Yap, Director, Profile Search & Selection


January 2017

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