Top 5 Fast-Growing Industries in Singapore (2019)

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Now that you’ve received your year-end bonus, you have probably made up your mind about whether you’re going to stay in your job this year, or leave in search of greener pastures.

But searching for a new job in 2019 isn’t just about spamming every single job ad and then taking the offer of the highest bidder.

No, you need to be strategic about which companies you apply to. That’s because industries rise and fall in Singapore faster than the tides.

Get a job in an industry that’s on the rise, and you could find yourself enjoying rapid promotions and a vertiginous ascent of the career ladder in the years to come.

Pick the wrong industry and you could find yourself retrenched, or just toiling away year after year for in a dead end job with no prospects for the future.

To help you out, here are the industries receiving a ton of hype in Singapore in early 2018.


1. FinTech will continue to grow 

Singapore’s status as a financial hub has meant that adapting to and profiting from fintech disruptors has been imperative.

Over the past few years, the number of fintech startups in Singapore has grown, and with it, the demand for workers with knowledge of financial products and markets, as well as those with tech, product management and digital marketing skills.

Some stalwarts to take note of include Flywire, which enables people to make and receive international payments online without incurring huge fees, TradeHero, a stock market simulation app and (ahem) MoneySmart, which enables users to compare loans, insurance and credit cards for free and apply for them at the click of a button.

EZ-link has introduced the YouTrip, a mobile wallet that allows customers to pay in over 150 currencies, and also doubles up as an EZ-link card.

Even local bank OCBC has been incubating fintech ideas in their innovation hub Carpe Diem since 2013, and was the first to launch Open Application Programming Interface (API) that helped to streamlined banking processes.

Thanks to aggressive incentives from the government and individual financial institutions, cashless payments are commonplace today. This is despite a messy landscape with dozens of e-wallets available. With a good mix of tech-savvy consumers and yet-to-be-converted ones, the fintech industry has tremendous room to grow in 2019.

Potential job openings in fintech can be found in tech start-ups, banks and established financial institutions.

On the other hand, Bitcoin and similar cryptocurrencies that tried to ride the coat-tails of the fintech boom in 2018 have lost their steam. It seems to be “the end of a virtual craze”, and cryptocurrency-related businesses and ICOs probably won’t be on the upward trend.

Read also: PayNow vs PayLah vs Pay Anyone – What’s the Difference & How to Use Them?


2. Tech start-ups 

Start-ups in general, whether soundly in the tech space or in-between, can be a good place to start or rejuvenate your career, especially if you choose the right business at the right time.

While “start-up” doesn’t strictly have to mean tech start-up, the reality is that the fastest rising businesses that receive the most publicity are tech start-ups. This is because of their success in putting consumers first by investing in good UX (user experience). Without overheads of traditional businesses, they are also able to provide attractive pricing.

In the past couple of years, the tech start-up space in Singapore has exploded. Many start-ups have snagged multi-million dollar funding offers and gone on to become household names, including Carousell, Honestbee, and Redmart, to name just a few.

Entering an early or middle stage start-up means you have a good chance of being offered company shares, which also means that if the business makes it big, you’ll be making a lot more than your salary. Of course, if the business tanks, the same will apply to your investments, which is why it’s important to choose your employer with care.

As an added bonus, start-ups usually boast a more casual, egalitarian and flexible working environment, which appeals to younger workers, in stark contrast to the stereotype of the old-fashioned SME.


3. Freelance economy

Want to work at your own pace? It has never been easier than today. You can join the fast-growing gig economy as a budding freelancer. Social media has made it easier to reach out to customers, whether you are a home baker, manicurist, beautician or have designed your own line of clothes.

With a good network of clients, you could also become a freelance writer, designer, video producer, or a combination of all.

The growth in the freelance industry is apparent in the private-hailing industry. In July 2016, there were 10,500 private-hire car drivers in Singapore. When the government introduced the Private Hire Car Driver’s Vocational License (PDVL) in July 2017, around 50,600 drivers applied. That’s a 5x growth in just a year.

There were about 200,000 freelancers in Singapore in 2017, which made up 9% of resident employment. But this figure could well be under-documented, and will probably grow in 2019.

The picture is not completely rosy, of course. There are many reports of freelancers not getting paid on time, and you’d have to be extremely disciplined with your time and finance management to ensure that you stay profitable.

Read also: Freelance Jobs Singapore (2018) – 8 Jobs Where You Can Set Your Own Schedule


4. Health and Fitness

Seeing more six-packs at Raffles Place these days? Well, the fitness landscape in Singapore has evolved dramatically over the past decade.

We’ve come a long way from the days when big gym chains like California Fitness dominated the fitness scene.

These days, Singaporeans are looking for more varied and more novel fitness options. Boutique fitness businesses are more likely to succeed than ever before.

Yoga, pilates, MMA and CrossFit have become immensely popular, and more bizarre-sounding fitness options like Bbounce Studio’s brand of rebounding fitness, pro wrestling fitness from Grapple MAX, ballet-inspired barre classes like what you’ll find at Barre2Barre, and SURFSET’s surfing-inspired workout are becoming increasingly common.

What’s more, the closure in 2016 of California Fitness, one of the fitness industry’s biggest players, has made more room in the fitness industry for smaller, boutique players.

Tech start-ups such as KFIT and GuavaPass have also cashed in on Singaporeans’ penchant for sampling and novelty by enabling users to sample a wide variety of fitness classes across many disciplines.

Thanks to an increasing preoccupation with health and fitness, especially from the affluent PMET demographic, the fitness landscape in Singapore looks set to grow further. It may also have a spillover effect on the retail industry, where fitness-related products like fitness trackers and sports gear become more profitable.

Read also: GuavaPass vs KFit vs Classpass – Which Fitness Pass is the Most Worth It?


5. Medical industry

We can take cues from Budget 2018. In February this year, Mr Heng Swee Keat (also our next PM) announced that Singapore will put aside some S$10.2 billion for healthcare expenditure. There will be new general and community hospitals, polyclinics, nursing homes and eldercare centres, which guarantee a strong demand for healthcare professionals across the board.

Singapore’s high-quality healthcare systems serve a rapidly ageing population and also attract a high number of medical tourists from the region. 

MedTech manufacturing will be a major area of growth to support the healthcare industry. This fast-growing industry will require researchers and engineers who can design better equipment for healthcare professionals, be it implantable pacemakers, or better tools for cosmetic surgery. 

Which are the most exciting industries in Singapore? Share your views in the comments!