Why Are PMET Vacancies Increasing in Singapore 2023?

Emma Lam

Emma Lam

Last updated 05 April, 2023

Although still not as high as pre-COVID numbers, the share of PMET vacancies rose from 53% to 56% in 2022.

The massive layoffs happening left and right last year was a tumultuous period for many PMETs across various sectors. 

In particular, tech giants like Shopee and ByteDance sent home a sizeable portion of their employees. (Hearsay, ByteDance intends to continue laying off at least 10,000 employees in the coming months. Yikes.) This is echoed in the Ministry of Manpower (MOM)’s report where retrenchments doubled from 1,300 in Q3 2022 to 2,990 in Q4 2022, citing business restructuring as the main cause.

Despite that, their survey found that “technology talents continue to be sought after”, commented Mr Ang, director of MOM’s research and statistics department. 

So what does this mean for PMET job seekers still waiting on employment?

Table of contents


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What are PMET jobs?

PMET refers to “professionals, managers, executives, and technician” roles in every sector.

While some seasoned professionals ironically denounce the term PMET due to its underlying discrimination towards other entry-level jobs, many Singaporeans still chase after the PMET job title. It’s a no-brainer that these higher-paying jobs yield greater payouts than blue-collar jobs, but the associated social status and prestige also bear a huge influence.

As a result, even though the overall number of job vacancies fell to 104,500 in December 2022, this juxtaposes the trend for PMET job vacancies; PMET job vacancies are on the rise


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Rise in PMET job vacancies: Which sectors benefit the most?

Over 56% of overall vacancies constituted PMET job vacancies. This is a 3% increase from the previous 53% in 2021. 

This rise suggests that growth sectors like Information & Communications, Financial & Insurance Services, Professional Services, and Health & Social Services saw the greatest demand for skilled workers.

More specifically, the following job scopes remain in high demand:

  • Technology e.g. software, web & multimedia developers and software & applications manager
  • Business development and sales e.g. managers and executives
  • Healthcare e.g. registered nurses

Conversely, the rise in PMET vacancies reflects a corresponding fall in non-PMET vacancies.

 

Source: MOM

But what are some reasons for this rise in PMET vacancies?

We won’t list out all, but here are the top three factors:

  1. Unattractive pay (34.7%)
  2. Lack necessary specialised skills (34.1%)
  3. Lack necessary work experience (27.1%)

From this, it becomes evident that inadequate qualifications is no longer a strong reason behind unfulfilled positions in PMET roles. Rather, skills and attitude were identified as greater determinants of one’s work aptitude and employability, even with minimum qualifications.

Increasingly, more employees are being more self-aware and confident of their own worth. This means that the job title itself is not enough, leading to many job seekers looking for higher pay and not settling for any wage undercutting.

💡 Fun fact: At least six in 10 PMET employees agree that their work makes a positive difference in the world, thus making their career more meaningful.

 


Average salary of PMET employees

Across the aforementioned sectors, the PMET roles can be ranked accordingly:

Ranking
Occupation
Average salary range
Min. qualification requirements
#1

Management Executive
S$2,200 - S$5,300
Degree
#2

Software, Web & Multimedia Developer
S$4,200 - S$8,500
Degree
#3

Commercial & Marketing Sales Executive
S$3,500 - S$5,500
Degree
#4

Teaching & Training Professional
S$3,200 - S$7,800
Diploma & Professor Qualifications
#5

Administration Manager
S$2,810 - S$6,000
Degree
#6
Software & Applications Manager
S$13,000 - S$15,000
Diploma & Professor Qualifications
#7
Registered Nurse & Other Nursing Professionals
S$2,500 - S$6,360
Diploma & Professor Qualifications
#8
Systems Analyst
S$5,000 - S$8,000
Degree
#9
Business Development Manager
S$4,500 - S$9,400
Degree
#10
Mechanical Engineer
S$3,586 - S$6,000
Degree

Based on this table, Management Executive roles in the Business Development & Sales sector were the most sought-after PMET role. 

However, in terms of wages, Software & Applications Manager, Software, Web & Multimedia Developer and Systems Analyst roles were among the top high-paying PMET roles on the market – once again reinforcing the demand for tech talent in 2022. 

Furthermore, the average salary for these three positions ranges between S$7,400 to S$10,500. This puts the median salary at roughly S$8,950

As of January 2023, the average monthly salary in Singapore is S$6,622. Meanwhile, the gross median income in Singapore was last reported as S$5,070 in 2022. Thus, you can clearly tell that these business- and tech-related PMET roles definitely bring in significantly more dough than the average-paying job in Singapore.

Read more:
What is the Average Salary in Singapore and Are You Earning Enough?
Highest Paying Jobs in Singapore 2023 


Trend: Decline in remote working

Some of the sad news here is that unfortunately, remote working is becoming less prevalent. In 2022, the proportion of job vacancies permitting remote working fell by 10%, from 31% to 21%.

This means that there are fewer employers who see the value in remote work trends and instead, prioritise more on-site workplace activities.

However, it was worth noting that there was still a relatively high demand for PMET vacancies allowing remote working for Managers & Administrators (50%) and Professionals (40%). 

 

Source: MOM

Read more:
The Best Countries to Work Remotely on a Budget
The Real Cost: Working From Home – May Surprise You
10 Best Co-Working Spaces in Singapore


Is unemployment or employment a bigger issue in Singapore?

Recognising the continual trend of incumbent firm layoffs, it seems as though the unemployment rate and employment rate in Singapore are neck-to-neck with each other. Just when employment improves, another layoff occurs, and the cycle repeats.

To reiterate, even though the majority of these retrenchment episodes involved PMET roles, the increasing proportion of PMET vacancies on the market says otherwise. 

Case in point, the statistics show that the chance of re-employment is decently high for PMET roles.

However, therein lies the irony of a disproportionate number of PMET job seekers actually getting re-employed because of a myriad of factors such as unattractive salary, stiff competition from peers, or lacking relevant work experience; out of which, the latter two are more so out of their control.

Want a comprehensive salary guide ranked by industries? Check out this article.


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Guide to Starting Salaries in Singapore
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Although she struggles *slightly* in resisting good deals and sales, Emma is on a lifelong journey to understand what financial independence as a Z-llennial means. That said, her inner child is still very much alive… with animals and gaming being her weaknesses.

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