Singapore job-seekers frustrated by lengthy hiring processes

While the Singapore labour market showed signs of improvement in 2017, job-seekers remain perplexed by hiring practices.

Cumbersome recruitment processes, lack of personalisation, and unfair hiring practices are some of the top grievances that Singapore job-seekers continue to face, a new research has found.

The survey, conducted in December 2017 by job portal Indeed, revealed the following challenges of job hunting:

Time-consuming processes

  • 50% of some 2,000 job applicants surveyed report that their job searches were complicated by irrelevant opportunities
  • More than half (56%) of respondents say that recruitment processes are too long and inefficient

Lack of relevance

  • More than half of job applicants surveyed (55%) say that job search processes are not personalised or tailored to their skills and past experience

Unfair hiring practices

  • Almost half (46%) of job-seekers felt they have experienced bias and discrimination when applying for a new job
  • 50% of respondents aged 45 and above have felt age discrimination when applying for a new job

While the Singapore labour market showed signs of improvement in the last year, many job-seekers are still frustrated by what they perceive as a lack of transparency in the hiring process.

The combined forces of digitalisation and globalisation have given employers more tools and channels to refine their search for the best candidates. However, these improvements have not seemed to trickle down in enhancing job-seekers’ experiences when searching for ideal roles.

These findings echo reports by Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower, which described an ongoing job-skills mismatch due to the rapid pace of digital transformation across all industries.

AI to drive improvements in job search

The same research by Indeed also revealed that more than half of Singaporean job seekers are keen to see AI-driven technologies making their job searches more efficient and effective.

Job-seekers believe the use of AI can minimise hiring biases and instead, focus recruitment efforts on matching candidates to the skills and experience needed for a role. For example, hirers can make a skills-led decision on job candidates by leveraging AI’s natural language processing capabilities to comb through text-heavy resumes and pinpoint critical information.

The same technology can be used by job-seekers on platforms like, where the use of AI and related algorithms can filter jobs that best match a candidate’s resume. This saves them time, instead of having to scour hundreds of job ads to identify those of the right fit.

“AI has a special part to play in this process, by helping hirers filter through hundreds of resumes, minimising time spent on cumbersome recruitment processes, and selecting candidates in a more objective manner,” says Andrew McGlinchey, Senior Director, Asia-Pacific at Indeed.

But McGlinchey adds that while AI is a great first-level qualifier, it still does not take away the importance of human interactions in the overall hiring process.

“The traditional interview is still an important channel for recruiters to shape the candidate experience in order to instil trust and inspire loyalty right at the outset. After all, hiring is a two-way process that requires both job seekers and hirers to determine the right fit for both parties,” he says.

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