SINGAPORE: More than 2,100 job, attachment and training opportunities in the logistics sector were made available under the SGUnited jobs and skills programme between April and September, with the majority of them in non-professional roles, said the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) in its latest jobs situation report on Monday (Oct 27).
As with many industries impacted by COVID-19, the logistics sector has seen a severe reduction in airfreight capacity, a shortage of workers arising from border lockdowns, and reduced efficiency due to safe distancing measures.
The effects of COVID-19 within the industry, however, has been uneven, with those serving aviation and aerospace adversely affected and those providing e-commerce, last-mile fulfilment services or serving critical sectors such as healthcare seeing a surge in demand.
About 63 per cent, or 1,340, of the 2,100 opportunities in the logistics sector were for job openings, said MOM in its report.
Professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMET) roles accounted for about 36 per cent or 480 of the jobs available, with the remaining 64 per cent or 860 jobs for non-PMET positions such as freight coordinators and material handlers.
The other opportunities included: 510 traineeships or attachments and 290 training places.
The majority of the job openings were for non-PMET roles as the industry requires many workers to carry out warehousing, transportation, labelling and packaging functions, said MOM in the report.
Salaries offered in the logistics industry ranged between S$1,600 and S$2,400 for positions such as transport clerks and freight handling workers, to between S$3,700 and S$7,250 for a managerial role.
Between April and September, 710 people were placed in jobs, traineeships and training openings in the logistics sector. Close to 600 of them found jobs, with about 240 of the jobs secured going to mature workers.
GLOBAL SUPPLY CHAIN
Minister of Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing said on Tuesday that Singapore is well-placed to distinguish itself as a logistics hub amid the COVID-19 pandemic, technological advancements and geopolitical tensions.
"People are all very concerned with the potential disruptions to their global supply chains. That is why a lot of these businesses are coming through Singapore, because they understand that we have a network that is much more resilient than many other countries," Mr Chan said during a virtual press conference on his visit to a DB Schenker warehouse.
"If we continue to preserve our competitiveness in this area, we will continue to grow this sector, especially for ... the sectors that rely a lot on the timeliness of their products, and these are mainly in the high-value products - biomedical products, the ICT sectors, and so forth," he added.
The Ministry of Trade and Industry said the large logistics companies in Singapore are planning to create 1,500 new jobs in the logistics sector over the next five years, based on the Economic Development Board’s existing pipeline of committed investments secured between 2018 and 2019.
The logistic industry contributed about S$6.8 billion - or 1.4 per cent of the gross domestic product - and hired more than 86,000 people across 5,300 organisations last year.
READ: Electronics sector continues to grow despite COVID-19, offered more than 2,800 opportunities since April: MOM
LOW STARTING SALARIES
Responding to a question about the low starting salaries of the non-PMET roles, Manpower Minister Josephine Teo said it is important to have a spectrum of available opportunities in the industry.
These roles could be filled by people from the hotel or retail industries, which have been hit hard by the economic downturn. Many of these workers would have been in non-PMET roles previously, said Mrs Teo, who was at the press conference with Mr Chan.
"Of course everyone would like to get the job that offers them the best overall package, but I think a lot of job seekers are also quite forward-thinking. They don't just want any job that comes along, they're also looking at prospects," said Mrs Teo.
"Although the starting salaries at some levels may not be so high, but quite often the job seeker will also consider what is the prospect for further development. In logistics, given that it is still a growth area overall, I think that option ... is available," she added.
The MOM report called the logistics sector “one of the most welcoming of mid-career switchers”, explaining that employers in the industry often look beyond qualifications when hiring as these job seekers have networks that help the company expand their business.