If you are not sure how the trade tensions between the U.S. and China can impact the rest of the world’s economies, read this. As graduates begin their job searches this year, they are finding it tough as companies are tightening their hiring numbers. In their job hunts, more graduates are seeing short-term contracts or multiple rejections to their job applications, as well as having to lower their job and salary expectations. 

In Singapore, the job market situation seemed to have taken a downturn as well with a decrease of job vacancies according to a labor market report published by the Ministry of Manpower this month. Job prospects for fresh graduates are also expected to be tougher as most companies would seek to hire for replacement rather than for expansion. The increase in fixed-term contract roles can also be attributed to companies taking a more cautious approach in hiring as the economy undergoes restructuring. This allows them more room for them to react under changing business conditions as it is easier to let go of contract staff first. 

Read the full article on TODAYOnline: The Big Read: As headwinds grow, fresh grads adjust job expectations, embrace short-term contracts


The trade war affecting local companies’ business outlook is an example of how political events outside of Singapore can have a large impact on the economy due to our dependency on trade. 

An awareness of how the economy is changing keeps us adaptable to changes, as well as  to the changing sentiments towards short-term contract roles. What used to be frowned upon is now embraced by younger job-seekers. Companies also need to change their views about ‘job-hoppers’ as people who they should avoid hiring because of their propensity to change jobs. Now, people are switching jobs often to find a good fit in their roles. It can be perceived as a value-add as the ‘job-hopper’ gains soft and hard skills from the different roles if they can rationalise the reasons for their leaving for the next company.

Another changing expectation is that obtaining higher educational qualifications such as degrees does not guarantee job security as much as it used to. With more graduates in the job market each year, the value of the candidate is compared using other means rather than just an academic certificate. This is food for thought for both potential and new graduates. 

Questions for further personal evaluation: 

  1. How can an individual differentiate himself from the rest when opportunities are limited? 
  2. In light of all the negative effects, who do you think benefits from the trade war? 

Useful vocabulary:

  1. ‘pall’: something regarded as enveloping a situation with an air of gloom or fear
  2. ‘unscathed’: without suffering any injury, damage, or harm