SINGAPORE: Hiring optimism in Singapore has taken a hit for the year’s third quarter.

According to the latest quarterly employment outlook survey by recruitment firm ManpowerGroup, released on June 11, sentiment has declined for three consecutive quarters.

The Straits Times reported that the finance and real estate sectors, in particular, seem to be exercising caution amidst challenges like subdued growth and cost constraints.

Their net employment outlook dropped significantly: 45% (Q2) and 15% (Q3), indicating a decrease in the intention to hire new staff compared to those planning to downsize.

However, not all sectors are experiencing the same decline. The transport, logistics, and automotive sector stands out with a robust net outlook of 47%, marking a significant increase from the previous quarter and year-on-year.

This sector’s positivity has helped offset the downturn in sentiment.

Interestingly, Singapore’s communication services sector, including media and telecommunications, remains the only one with a negative outlook at negative 33%, worsening from the previous quarter at negative 29%.

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The survey, which collected responses from 525 employers across nine sectors, paints a mixed picture for the upcoming quarter.

While the net employment outlook is 20%, indicating cautious optimism, the sentiment varies across different industries.

Certain sectors such as healthcare, life sciences, industrials, and materials show more positive hiring sentiments, with net employment outlooks of over 30%.

On the other hand, the information technology sector experienced a slight decline in its net employment outlook from 28% to 20%.

According to Ms Linda Teo, the country manager at ManpowerGroup Singapore, the decline in hiring sentiment can be attributed to companies’ strategic decisions to streamline operations, which may involve offshoring to reduce costs or bridge skill gaps.

Additionally, the rise of flexible working arrangements is prompting more companies to consider hiring remote workers to meet evolving job demands. The survey also analysed hiring plans based on employer size.

The employment outlook in organizations with 1,000 to 4,999 employees dropped from 44% in Q2 2024 to 6% in Q3 2024

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On the contrary, small firms with 10 to 49 employees reported the strongest outlook of 46%, indicating a bullish hiring sentiment. Microorganizations with fewer than 10 employees reported an employment outlook of -13% in Q3 2024. /TISG

For additional information, the full report can be accessed here: ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey Singapore

Read also: Singapore’s annual online hiring down 22% in February from “economic challenges”