Despite economic headwinds, Singapore employers will continue to hire workers

According to a survey by ManpowerGroup Employment some 15 percent of employers plan to increase their workforce although three percent are expecting a decrease with 77 percent foreseeing no change in their staffing scenario

Photo: You Tube screen grab from Migrant Workers Centre Singapore

While there is a perceived slowdown in the economy as an aftermath of the continuing US-China trade war, the latest survey indicates that Singaporean employers continue to be optimistic with plans for hiring new workers and retaining their existing personnel.

Some 15 percent of employers plan to increase their workforce although three percent are expecting a decrease with 77 percent foreseeing no change in their staffing scenario.

This is according to the latest survey released today by the ManpowerGroup Employment, a recruitment company.

“The food and beverage industry is always looking for manpower,” said Mr Mustaffa Kamal, 34, co-founder of The Black Hole Group, a food and beverage management company.

“In the future, the need for manpower in this industry might remain constant or drop due to technology.”

Employers in seven industry sectors are anticipating additions to their payrolls in the third quarter, with those in the public administration and education segments showing the strongest hiring prospects of +22%, a jump of five percentage points from the previous quarter.

Likewise, positive workforce gains are expected in the services sector where the prospect is +18% – the biggest jump of the quarter, up by eight percentage points in Q3 of 2018.

For the transportation and utilities sector including the mining and construction industries, an increase of 10 percent and nine percent in employment prospects have been reported respectively.

Elsewhere, employers report moderate hiring plans, with outlooks standing at +8% in both the manufacturing sector and the wholesale and retail trade sectors.

“With news of a slowdown in the economy, there would be potential for business owners to look out for lower cost, high value employees; in that a (sic) case, a musical chair recruitment outcome (sic) would occur,” said Jonathan Cheah, executive director of manufacturing company Faesol.

On the other hand, the finance, insurance and real estate sectors, have the weakest hiring outlooks, at +7%, a decline of 18 percentage points in the corresponding quarter.

Large employers report dynamic hiring plans with a booming outlook of +59%, while the most cautious outlook of +4% is reported from micro firms.

“The US-China trade war affects the global economic trade volume, which may affect businesses in Singapore,” said Mr Kurt Wee, president of the Association of Small and Medium Enterprises.

“When employers sense that global trade volume is falling, they may be more selective about employment.”

Ms Linda Teo, country manager of ManpowerGroup Singapore, said: “Employers in Singapore remain cautiously optimistic about their hiring plans in the midst of continued economic headwinds.

“Companies are expected to continue hiring to fill gaps in their workforce, albeit at a slower pace as many employers anticipate the impact of the ongoing trade war between China and the US to spill over into the local economy.”