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Academic grades give no assurance of a PMET job in business and ICT

Employers feel that traits such as a candidate’s “curiosity, humility and a willingness to learn” are valuable considerations for hiring

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Graduates need to work on their software and interpersonal skills if they want to land Professionals, Managers, Executives and Technicians (PMET) jobs in Singapore.

Latest figures from the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) report that fifty-two percent of surveyed employers– a ten percent increase from 2017– now consider relevant skills, work experience, interpersonal skills, work ethic and attitudes to be more important than educational qualification.

The data is supported by results from a forum held in Nanyang Technological University. The forum on employability showed the changing trends in hiring candidates. While grades are still the easiest factor in shortlisting applicants, employers now think that traits such as a candidate’s “curiosity, humility and a willingness to learn” as valuable considerations for hiring.

Read: Time to ‘think out of the box’? – Academic achievement should not be the main criteria for assessing candidates in public service

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Not surprisingly, the MOM figures also show an increase in demand for PMET roles in the business and ICT sectors as industries continue to transform to keep up with the needs of the digital era. Almost half of new vacancies in these industries is due to business expansion.

According to the data from the MOM, the vacancies in professional services, financial and insurance services, and information and communications industries is due to the low number of applicants with lack of specialised skills or lack of relevant work experience. Twenty-one percent of PMET vacancies in the industries were unfilled for six or more months in 2018.

For ICT vacancies, employers seek applicants proficient in programming languages such as JavaScript, Python and C++ as well as specialised software “to manage projects and perform enterprise resource planning.”

For business and finance vacancies, employers cite “technical knowledge in customer relationship management, financial and business analysis software” as well as “social perceptiveness” to be important factors in the hiring process.

In contrast, non-PMET opportunities such as cleaners, sales assistants, and security guards decreased in demand following the digitalization of industries and evolving needs of consumers.

The MOM report also stated that teaching and training professionals, nurses, receptionists, customer service officers did not require “job specific work experience” and it is advisable for those applicants seeking such to switch industries.

Locals cite unattractive pay, physically strenuous nature of work, weekend and holiday work, and shifting schedules as reasons for not applying for non-PMET jobs.

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