Singapore’s Growing Healthcare Industry and the Demand for Healthcare Professionals

In Singapore, the healthcare sector is one of the largest and most rapidly expanding industries. The rise in the elderly population, shifting disease patterns, and an increasing prevalence of chronic illnesses are contributing to a significant need for both healthcare professionals and administrative staff.

Healthcare Industry Growth in Singapore

According to various sources, including the Singapore Ministry of Health, the healthcare sector in Singapore has been experiencing strong growth, with the market expected to reach $43 billion in 2030.

The government has been a major contributing factor to this growth by spending high levels of funding, which are predicted to top $13.2 billion in 2020 and triple to $36 billion by 2029. The healthcare sector accounts for close to 6% of Singapore’s GDP and is predicted to rise to 9% by 2029, which indicates a growing demand for healthcare professionals in Singapore.

Importance of Healthcare Innovation in Singapore

Singapore has been ranked 12th in the 2021 World Index of Healthcare Innovation and offers universal coverage for its citizens with multiple layers of care. Compared to its ASEAN peers, Singapore spends the most annually on healthcare on a per capita basis, and this expenditure is expected to rise faster than GDP due to the country’s ageing population and demographic changes. 

The Ministry of Health has projected that Singapore’s National Health Expenditure could increase to $43 billion in 2030. Healthcare spending, which includes both public and private healthcare expenditures, is predicted to account for 5.9% of GDP and may increase to 9.0% by the same time. 

This increase in spending is primarily due to rising government spending on healthcare and the local population’s consumption of healthcare services, attributed mainly to an ageing population and an inclination towards earlier diagnosis of chronic conditions, close monitoring, and follow-up.

Key Factors Driving Job Growth in Singapore’s Healthcare Sector

There are several key factors driving job growth in Singapore’s healthcare sector:

Singapore's ageing population

The country's population is ageing rapidly, and this has led to an increased demand for healthcare services. As people age, they are more likely to require medical care and assistance, leading to a higher demand for healthcare professionals.

Government support

The Singaporean government has been investing heavily in the healthcare sector, which has led to job growth in the industry. The government's support has helped to create new jobs in areas such as research and development, nursing, and medical technology.

Technological advancements

The healthcare sector in Singapore has been quick to adopt new technologies, which has led to the creation of new jobs in areas such as medical imaging, data analysis, and telemedicine.

Growing medical tourism industry

Singapore has become a popular destination for medical tourism, with many people travelling to the country for medical treatments. This has led to job growth in areas such as hospitality and medical support services.

Increasing demand for specialized care

As the healthcare sector in Singapore becomes more advanced, there is an increasing demand for specialized care. This has led to job growth in areas such as oncology, cardiology, and neurology, as well as in the research and development of new treatments and therapies.

Healthcare Job Market Trends in Singapore

Singapore’s excellent healthcare services have led to the country being a top destination for healthcare tourism, with over 500,000 medical tourists annually, and healthcare offers the most job opportunities in Singapore. The sector employs over 100,000 workers, accounting for just under 3% of the total workforce, with around 70% being healthcare professionals, and the remaining 30% being support, administrative, and ancillary workers.

The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the number of support workers in the sector, particularly swabbers and care ambassadors. The healthcare sector is also becoming a desirable industry to work in, particularly for mid-career switchers, with the rising interest shown during the pandemic.

Skills In High Demand for Healthcare Jobs in Singapore

There are several critical skills that Healthcare professionals must possess, including:

  1. Communication skills: The ability to communicate effectively with patients, their families, and other healthcare professionals is crucial in the healthcare industry.
  2. Teamwork and collaboration skills: Healthcare professionals need to be able to work effectively as part of a team to provide the best possible care to patients.
  3. Observation skills: Healthcare professionals must be able to observe and interpret patient symptoms and behaviors accurately.
  4. Problem-solving skills: Healthcare professionals must be able to identify and solve problems quickly and effectively, particularly in emergencies.
  5. Adaptability skills: The healthcare industry is constantly evolving, and healthcare professionals need to be adaptable to changes in technology, regulations, and patient needs.
  6. Organization skills: Healthcare professionals must be well-organized and able to manage their time effectively to provide efficient care to patients.
  7. Empathy skills: Healthcare professionals must be empathetic and able to connect with patients on a personal level to provide compassionate care.
  8. Computer skills: Healthcare professionals must be proficient in using technology and computer systems, particularly electronic medical records.
  9. Dexterity skills: Some healthcare professionals, such as surgeons and nurses, require excellent hand-eye coordination and manual dexterity to perform their job responsibilities effectively.
  10. Procedural skills: Healthcare professionals must be well-trained in various medical procedures and techniques to provide safe and effective care to patients.
  11. Bilingual language skills: In Singapore, being bilingual is essential, particularly in healthcare settings where patients may come from different ethnic backgrounds and speak different languages.

Healthcare professionals in Singapore require a combination of technical, interpersonal, and language skills to provide high-quality care to patients and succeed in their careers.

Healthcare Education and Training in Singapore

At present, the following institutions offer primary medical education: 

  • Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, 
  • Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, and 
  • Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School Singapore. 

If you want to enroll in an undergraduate medical program, you must sign a Medical Agreement with the Ministry of Health (MOH) before starting your course.

On-the-job training is an integral part of healthcare education worldwide, including in Singapore. Many training opportunities are provided to students while they are in medical school.

Qualifications Needed for Healthcare Jobs in Singapore

The qualifications required can vary depending on the specific medical organization, but there are some common criteria that most positions share. These include:

  1. Certifications: Many healthcare jobs in Singapore require certifications specific to the job position, such as a nursing license or a medical technologist certification.
  2. Healthcare degree: A degree in healthcare, such as medicine, nursing, pharmacy, or allied health, is often required for healthcare jobs in Singapore.
  3. Training: On-the-job training is common in many healthcare jobs in Singapore, particularly for entry-level positions. This training can include shadowing experienced professionals, attending workshops, or participating in training programs.
  4. Skills: Healthcare professionals in Singapore must possess a range of skills, including technical, interpersonal, and language skills, to provide high-quality care to patients.

What Are the Job Prospects for Healthcare Professionals in Singapore’s Healthcare Industry?

There is a strong demand for healthcare professionals in Singapore due to the country’s rapidly ageing population, increasing healthcare needs, and rising demand for medical tourism. The government’s high levels of spending on healthcare and the sector’s strong growth also contribute to a favorable job market for healthcare professionals in Singapore.

The healthcare sector offers a wide variety of job opportunities.

  1. Medical Assistant
  2. Nursing Assistant/Registered Nurse
  3. Home Health Aid
  4. Physician
  5. Therapist
  6. Pharmacy Technician
  7. Clinical Laboratory Technician
  8. Dental Assistant
  9. Pharmacist
  10. Radiologic Technologist
  11. Dental Hygienist
  12. Family Practitioner
  13. Dentist
  14. Massage Therapist
  15. Dietician
  16. Veterinarian
  17. Cardiovascular Technologist
  18. Surgeon
  19. Pediatrician 
  20. Anesthesiologist
  21. Chiropractor
  22. Psychiatrist
  23. Obstetrician, etc.

How has the Demand for Elder Care and Geriatric Medicine Increased the Need for Healthcare Professionals in Singapore?

The increasing prevalence of chronic diseases and an ageing population have led to a surge in demand for healthcare professionals. To cater to this demand, the healthcare sector is establishing new facilities, including integrated facilities, community hospitals, general hospitals, and polyclinics. 

Among all the ASEAN countries, Singapore has the highest proportion of elderly individuals, defined as those over 65 years of age, at 10.7% of the total population. However, within the next two decades, Singapore is expected to undergo a phenomenon known as ‘hyper-ageing,’ where around 25% of the population will be 65 years of age or older by 2030. In light of this, it is crucial to construct more facilities for the elderly, such as nursing homes and rehabilitation centers. 

Moreover, there will be an increasing demand for services such as geriatric medicine, home-based patient monitoring, memory care, and rehabilitation medicine. This presents a lucrative and expanding market in Singapore for U.S. companies specializing in elder-care products and services.

What Are the Emerging Trends in Telemedicine and Digital Health Jobs in Singapore’s Healthcare Industry?

Singapore’s healthcare system has witnessed tremendous progress in the digital health sector over the past year. While robots patrolled the wards, patients consulted doctors through video conferencing, and clinics delivered medicines to their doorsteps, experts from Singapore’s healthcare system predicted further advances in digital health. Singapore’s ageing population means that health services need to target chronic conditions. 

A Primary Tech Enhanced Care initiative has been launched that allows hypertension patients to submit their blood pressure readings through a Bluetooth machine. Healthcare providers can then analyze these readings and intervene when necessary. Other trends include at-home care, making hospital visits more convenient, freeing up doctors’ time, and a unified national healthcare system.

Creating an ecosystem to build med-tech companies is essential for the advancement, and growth of the healthcare industry and to provide digital health jobs in Singapore.

A few digital health jobs include telehealth doctor, surgical robot developer/ technician, and cloud-based solutions developer in the health industry.

What Are the Key Responsibilities of a Healthcare Administrator in the Singapore Public Healthcare Sector?

The responsibilities of a healthcare administrator may vary depending on their specific job title and can encompass a wide range of duties, which may include but are not restricted to

  • Ensuring adherence to financial regulations
  • Developing and implementing strategies to improve healthcare services
  • Managing staff members and resolving human resources-related issues 
  • Promoting and expanding the healthcare business
  • Analyzing quality indicators and outcomes and monitoring their progress
  • Supervising the daily operations of different departments.

The job responsibilities of healthcare administrators can vary based on the type of healthcare facility they work in, such as nursing homes, surgery centers, physical therapy clinics, and others.

Common tasks performed by healthcare administrators include:

  • Creating work schedules for staff and physicians
  • Managing facility finances
  • Handling patient fees and billing
  • Enhancing facility efficiency and quality
  • Ensuring compliance with all applicable laws and regulations
  • Providing training to staff members
  • Communicating with physicians and nurses
  • Conducting investor meetings and meeting with governing boards
  • Monitoring budgets and expenditures

Healthcare administrators must be adaptable and capable of assuming new responsibilities during their employment. The size and location of the healthcare facility may also impact their job responsibilities.

Depending on their role, healthcare administrators may oversee an entire facility or a specific department within a facility.

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To sum up, pursuing a career in the healthcare industry in Singapore is extremely beneficial due to various factors like attractive remuneration, high demand, and recognition through awards and accolades. As this field continues to expand, if you are considering a healthcare career, we can offer our assistance.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is healthcare a growing industry in Singapore?

Yes. Various reports show healthcare is a growing industry in Singapore.

Why is healthcare spending increasing in Singapore?

An ageing population, a higher prevalence of chronic diseases, technological advancements, and a more knowledgeable and discerning population all contribute to an increase in healthcare demand and spending.

How effective is healthcare in Singapore?

The healthcare system in Singapore is exceptional in terms of both its superior quality and its ability to manage the cost of care.

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