Hr Market Update, April 2018 2000x500 Min

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


  • Singapore’s economy expanded by 3.7% in 2017, more than double initial forecasts, thanks largely to an upswing in global growth and surge in demand for electronic gadgets. Despite the external environment remaining uncertain, there is conservative optimism for Singapore’s economy in 2018.

  • With economic restructuring plans in place to help the workforce adapt and prepare for the future, Singapore has recently adjusted its projected growth in 2018 to 3.2%, up from its previous forecast of 3%, which was made at the end of last year.

  • The labour market continued to see improvements in the last quarter of 2017, with unemployment rates declining in December 2017 and overall unemployment for the year remaining steady at 2.1%.

  • At Profile, there has been a marked pickup in recruitment activity since the start of this year, which is congruent with the economic upswing that Singapore is experiencing. 


  • Hiring activity in Singapore has increased by more than 30% for senior-level candidates at the Associate Director level and above in comparison to the same period last year and in 2016.

  • The surge in senior-level hires has been a mixture of both new and replacement headcounts, with a couple due to HR leadership changes. In addition, there were a few confidential hires that took place as businesses replaced incumbents who could not keep up with the pace and demands of their dynamic business. This underpins the importance for HR professionals to be agile, current and business-minded.

  • Mirroring the upward trend in hiring, mid-level HR candidates are increasingly receiving multiple offers of late, with demand particularly strong for HRBP/Heads of HR and Talent Acquisition roles.

  • With Singapore’s ‘Smart Nation’ efforts underway, there has been increased demand for HR talent within technology start-ups who have expertise in scaling up organisations.


  • Salary and promotion increments trended between 3 to 10% this year, however, higher increments were seen (10 to 20%) for HR professionals who moved organisations. These figures are consistent with previous years.

  • In relation to bonuses, the sectors that performed better, such as banking, saw higher bonuses than the year before. 


  • The HR desk is expected to remain active with the market expected to pickup in the second and third quarters of the year. 

  • Demand for senior HR candidates with strong skills and experience in change management, HR analytics and digitisation will remain solid as companies seek the right HR talent who can help them drive growth. 


For more information or individually tailored advice, please do not hesitate to contact our regional Human Resources team:

Singapore Office - please contact Pei Fen Chong

Hong Kong Office - please contact Amanda Clarke

Shanghai Office - please contact Shelya Zhou

Beijing Office - please contact Ming Ming


Pei Fen Chong and Andrea Merrigan, Profile Search & Selection


April 2018