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Two in ten Singaporean companies will hire in Q3

Net employment outlook stood at +12%.

Employers in Singapore are reporting their strongest hiring intentions in nearly three years.

According to latest ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey released today, Net Employment Outlook (NEO) stood at +12% after accounting for seasonal variation. Of the 670 local employers surveyed, 17% expected to increase staffing levels in the coming quarter, 70% expected no change, while only 5% intended to let staff go.

Overall, positive payroll gains are expected across all sectors in Singapore for the third quarter of 2018.

Going by sector, employers in the finance, insurance and real estate sector had the highest hiring intentions with a NEO of +26% – the strongest in three years. Similarly, steady workforce gains were anticipated in the transportation and utilities sector (+13%); manufacturing sector (+12%); and public administration and education sector (+12%)

On the flip side, the weakest hiring plans were reported by employers in the mining and construction sector (+3%); wholesale trade and retail trade sector (+9%); and services sector (+10%).

Compared to the previous quarter, hiring prospects improved in four of the seven industry sectors surveyed. The biggest improvement was seen in the transportation and utilities sector – an improvement of 6 percentage points. Similarly, outlooks increased by 3 and 2 percentage points in the manufacturing sector and the services sector, respectively.

On the flip side, hiring activity is decreased in three sectors, including the public administration and education sector, with a considerable decline of 10 percentage points, and the mining and construction sector, decreasing by 3 percentage points.

Year-on-year, employment outlooks were stronger in six of seven industry sectors. The finance, insurance and real estate sector saw a sharp improvement of 22 percentage points, and the manufacturing sector outlook is 11 percentage points stronger. Elsewhere, increases of 8 percentage points are reported in both the public administration and education sector, and the transportation and utilities sector.

However, the mining and construction sector employers reported a decline of 4 percentage points compared to a year ago.

By organisation size, large employers reported the strongest hiring intentions with a NEO of +19%, while outlooks stood at +14% for both small- and medium-sized employers. Micro firms reported the lowest outlook of +8%.

Micro businesses have less than 10 employees; small businesses have 10-49 employees; medium businesses have 50-249 employees; and large businesses have 250 or more employees.

Staffing levels expected to increase across Asia Pacific
Across Asia Pacific, nearly 15,000 employers were interviewed with employers in each of the eight countries and territories intending to add to their workforces by varying margins over the next three months.

In comparison with 2Q 2018, hiring intentions strengthened in five countries and territories but weaken in two.

Japanese employers anticipated the strongest hiring pace in the region, with a seasonally adjusted NEO of +26%. This was followed by Taiwan (+24%), India (+17%), Hong Kong (+17%), and Singapore (+12%).

The weakest Asia Pacific labor market is forecast in New Zealand, with a seasonally adjusted Net Employment Outlook of +8%, followed by Australia (+10%), and China (+11%).

On the general favorable hiring climate, Linda Teo, country manager of ManpowerGroup Singapore, said: “The digital wave continues to transform the business models in APAC countries. APAC companies are stepping up on hiring IT talents specializing in areas such as artificial intelligence and fintech, but are struggling to fill openings due to insufficient supply of IT talents.”

With that, she advised: “As new technology emerges, the skills needs of companies will change. Hiring new talents when needed is unsustainable in the long run. To ensure longevity of their workforce, employers need to build an agile workforce by investing in employees’ training and development.”

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