With the economy returning to positive GDP growth, employment in skilled occupations such as technicians, managers and professionals is now only 2.3% below the pre-pandemic period, data from professional services firm PwC shows.
By comparison, the number of semi-skilled jobs – those employed as salespeople, clerks, plant and machine operators, and skilled agriculturalists – is 14.7% lower.
Less severe but also of great concern is the 5.8% deficit in unskilled jobs, like domestic workers, over the same period, the group said.
“On aggregate, our estimates show that one in every eight jobs classified as unskilled and semi-skilled are still lost. Simply put, skilled employment has been much more resilient over the past year compared to unskilled and semi-skilled jobs.
“This is not surprising considering that many skilled workers have been able to work from home over an extended period,” the group said.
This was further reflected in PwC’s annual Global CEO Survey found that that 86% of local business leaders are somewhat (35%) or extremely (51%) concerned about the availability of key skills in 2021. This is higher than the global average of 72%.
On an industry level, a combined 444,054 jobs were lost from the first to the second quarter of this year in the categories ‘community, social and personal services’ and ‘financial intermediation, insurance, real estate and business services’.
“Both categories include small- and medium-sized service-based enterprises providing, for example, cultural activities and recreation, business-related services – e.g. consulting and research & development – as well as maintenance and repair,” PwC said.
“These service-based enterprises continue to experience significant pressure on their income and employment levels as businesses and consumers reduce spending on non-essential services.”
By the middle of 2021, formal non-agricultural employment was just 136,000 jobs (1.4%) higher compared to the lockdown-hit second quarter of 2020.
In turn, informal non-agricultural employment increased by a significant 406,000 jobs (7.4%) in 2021Q2 compared to a year earlier.
This highlights that many people who were previously employed in the formal sector are now dependent on informal jobs, PwC said.