Job seekers are in for a challenging employment environment from October to December as hiring intentions among Singapore employers remain modest, according to the latest Manpower Employment Outlook Survey (MEOS) results released by ManpowerGroup.
Of the 646 employers surveyed, 13% expect to increase staffing levels while 5% anticipate a decrease, and 73% foresee no change. Once seasonal variations are adjusted to the data, Singapore’s Net Employment Outlook stands at a prudent +7%, the weakest forecast reported since 3Q 2009 following seven successive quarters of gradual decline.
Overall, hiring intentions shrink 5 percentage points year-over-year. “The hiring sentiment among employers in Singapore is reflective of the current state of the economy. Singapore, being export-driven, has clearly been affected by China’s slumping growth, downturn in commodities and the uncertainty due to Britain’s vote to withdraw from the European Union,” says Ms Linda Teo, Country Manager of ManpowerGroup Singapore.
“Our figures also reinforce the slow domestic growth MTI has projected for the Singapore economy.” Teo was referring to Ministry of Trade and Industry’s (MTI) updated forecast of Singapore’s economy which is expected to expand by 1% to 2% – possibly the slowest year since 2009.
This is a narrower than the 1% to 3% that was previously predicted.
Domestic hiring sentiments by sectors
MEOS covers seven industries: Finance, Insurance & Real Estate; Manufacturing; Mining & Construction; Public Administration & Education; Services; Transportation & Utilities; and Wholesale & Retail Trade.
Net Employment Outlooks
Employers in six of the seven industry sectors report positive hiring plans for the October-December time frame. The Finance, Insurance & Real Estate sector in Singapore reports the most sanguine hiring sentiment with an Outlook of +19%, followed by the Services sector with an Outlook of +15%.
Meanwhile, the Mining & Construction sector reveals the weakest hiring expectation with an outlook of -2%. Employers in the public administration & education sector, transportation & utilities sector and the manufacturing sector disclose more moderate hiring outlooks at +7%, +6% and +5% respectively.
Meanwhile, employers in the wholesale & retail trade sector report an outlook of +1%.
Quarter-on-Quarter Sector Comparisons
Quarter-over-quarter, hiring prospects weaken in four of the seven industry sectors. Mining and Construction sector employers report the most noteworthy decline of 10 percentage points, while outlooks are 6 percentage points weaker in both the Public Administration & Education sector and the Transportation & Utilities sector.
Meanwhile, hiring prospects strengthen in the Services sector and the Finance, Insurance & Real Estate sector, improving by 4 and 3 percentage points, respectively.
Year-on-Year Sector Comparisons
Outlook declines in five of the seven industry sectors, year-on-year, with the biggest decrease of 15 percentage points reported by employers in the mining and construction sector. However, hiring plans improve by 3 percentage points in the services sector, and are 2 percentage points stronger in the finance, insurance and real estate sector.
Asia Pacific Hiring Outlook
Employers in India and Japan continue to report the strongest hiring plans for the fourth quarter. In India, more than three out of 10 employers indicate they will add to their payrolls in the October-December time frame.
Similarly in Japan, talent demand is expected to remain robust with an active hiring pace forecasted in most industry sectors and all regions, especially in the mining & construction sector. Hiring plans in this sector might be fuelled by ongoing preparations in advance for the 2020 Olympic Games.
Employers in Taiwan anticipate an active hiring pace through the last three months of the year. Over in New Zealand, the hiring pace is projected to remain steady as well. Employer hiring intentions in Australia and China are showing a slight rebound.
China continues structural adjustments to de-emphasise its reliance on heavy industry. Meanwhile, in Australia, positive forecasts are reported across all industry sectors and regions, and indicate that efforts to minimise the country’s reliance on mining and related support activities may be gaining momentum.