Singaporeans are living longer than ever before. Between 1990 and 2019, the life expectancy of the average Singaporean rose from 76.1 years to 84.79 years. In fact, by 2030, one in four Singaporeans will be aged 65 years old and above. To counter the effects of an ageing population, the Singaporean government allocated as much as US$10.7 billion to healthcare in 2017 — that’s the third-largest spending by ministry behind education and defence. With the private healthcare sector joining in the fray as well, too, is on the rise.
There are several reasons why Singaporeans are ageing deep into their 80s. Aside from living healthier, more active lifestyles, Singaporeans also have greater access to quality healthcare. According to a report by Ken Research, personal healthcare expenditure is projected to hit S$28 billion in 2030 from S$11 billion in 2013. In fact, this will make up 64% of total healthcare expenditure, which in turn implies huge growth potentials in the city-state’s private healthcare.
The growth experienced by most healthcare organisations has stimulated the job market significantly. With many organisations investing heavily in new headcount, healthcare jobs in Singapore are experiencing an unprecedented boom.
Top hiring trends in Singapore
In terms of hiring trends, there is an increase in demand for pharmaceutical manufacturing roles, with more organisations setting up shop in Singapore and increasing their production capability. Furthermore, to ensure that manufacturing talent keeps up with changing industry needs, the government has partnered with pharmaceutical companies to develop and evolve training programmes.
However, the pharmaceutical industry is not the only place where healthcare jobs in Singapore can be found. On the commercial side of things, there is also an increase in investment when it comes to sales- and marketing-related roles. The purpose of increasing these headcount is to ensure adequate market gains in the foreseeable future.
As a whole, there was a 22% increase in demand for talent between 2018 and 2019. Furthermore, when switching jobs of similar industries within the healthcare sector, talent can expect an average of 12–18% increase in terms of salary.
The digital future
With that said, there are some specific skills in hot demand among healthcare jobs in Singapore. For one, the Singapore government has been underlining its Smart Nation initiatives for some time now, and it is likely going to impact the healthcare sector also. For example, the focus now is on the digitisation of various healthcare procedures, such as telehealth, assistive technology, as well as robotics.
As such, the trending skills will be mainly on the digital front. For example, candidates looking for healthcare jobs in Singapore will have an advantage if they have experience with enabling digital capabilities for more efficient customer engagement, or if they have expertise in regulatory and quality control.
In terms of the specific roles in demand, sales, medical affairs and commercial excellence managers are needed right now. Also, with new technologies come new regulations, which is why regulatory affairs managers and directors are also highly sought after.
Rise of the machines
Looking ahead, further advancements in the technology field might bring in more job potentials as well. One area to look into is that of artificial intelligence. According to a recent survey by Dutch technology company Royal Philips, Singapore had the third-highest percentage of healthcare professionals who said they use AI in healthcare to improve diagnostic accuracy. The survey also revealed that, in Singapore, is primarily used for administrative tasks, such as staffing and scheduling patient appointments.
With that said, healthcare professionals in Singapore are somewhat concerned. The same survey found that 20% of respondents feel their long-term job security is threatened by advancements in healthcare technologies like AI — that’s higher than the 14% average among the countries polled.
As such, when looking for healthcare jobs in Singapore, perhaps it is a good idea to upskill yourself for the digital healthcare future that the city-state is inevitably marching towards.