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Singapore Employers Adopt "Wait-And-See" Approach

Tom Burroughes

20 December 2011

The majority of human resources divisions in Singapore are not planning to increase their staffing levels in the first quarter of 2012, as the uncertain economic climate overshadows hiring budgets, according to a new survey. 

While a fifth of employers forecast an increase in staffing levels, 5 per cent anticipate a decrease and 71 per cent expect no change, according to a Manpower Employment Outlook Survey of the world, including the Asia-Pacific region.

"Our research results indicate that employers still have a desire to bring on talent with specific skill sets. But the data also reveals a growing number of employers - 71 per cent - intend to keep their workforces intact over the next three months. Evidently, more of our employers than usual are taking a wait-and-see approach to evaluate market trends prior to adding to their payrolls," said Linda Teo, country manager of Manpower Singapore.

Industry sectors in the survey included finance, insurance and real estate, manufacturing, mining and construction, public administration and education, services, transport and utilities and wholesale trade and retail trade.

The figures suggest that Singapore’s financial services sector, which has grown rapidly in recent years, such as in wealth management, is decelerating, if only temporarily as global economic uncertainties have built.

“Across the Asia Pacific region, job prospects remain solid but employers in six of eight countries and territories are expecting to ease hiring compared to three months ago, most notably in Singapore,” the report said.

“Compared to last year at this time, employers in six countries and territories say they will slow the pace of hiring, with the forecast in China weakening considerably. Hiring plans in Japan remain the least robust in the region, but the outlook improves slightly from the previous quarter and 12 months ago,” it said.

The survey polls almost 65,000 employers in 41 countries and territories.