Half of Singapore employers plan to hire in Q4: Survey

SINGAPORE – One in two companies plans to increase headcount in the fourth quarter of this year despite economic and geopolitical headwinds, according to a survey by staffing firm ManpowerGroup on Tuesday (Sept 13).

While hiring sentiments have dipped by 4 percentage points from the last quarter, such sentiments showed an improvement of 38 percentage points as compared to last year.

“Hiring activity in Singapore is expected to remain brisk as employers continue to scale up their hiring to fill their backlog of vacancies,” said Linda Teo, country manager of ManpowerGroup Singapore, which had surveyed 510 companies.

This comes as some sectors, such as banking, finance, insurance, and real estate were reported to have had a sustained strong hiring environment since Q1 2010. Hiring intentions for these sectors improved by 10 percentage points quarter on quarter and 44 percentage points year on year, said ManpowerGroup.

Teo believes the strong demand for labour in the banking and financial services sector comes amid¬†these institutions’ efforts to scale up their businesses within the digital financial services space.

Besides IT and finance-related roles, there is also a high demand for customer service roles and relationship managers. The weakest demand on the other hand, comes from sectors like education, health, social work and government, construction and other services sectors, the survey found.

On a global scale, hiring managers across the Asia Pacific region anticipated the most vigorous hiring intentions globally. It is also the only region where hiring intentions improved from last quarter, with India, China and Australia having the strongest hiring outlooks driven by a need to fill up digital roles.

Despite the bullish hiring sentiments, the survey also found that 3 in 4 of these global companies struggled to fill up roles amidst the highest labour shortage problem in 16 years.

Singapore is no different.

A majority of Singapore employers in all sectors reported difficulties in finding suitable candidates to fill up vacancies – a problem which Teo believes stems from a tight labour market and a shortage of skilled workers. Globally, talent shortages were reported to be the highest in 16 years as 3 in 4 companies said they faced a manpower shortage.

As travel restrictions ease, MICE events are making a strong comeback in Singapore. Hiring activities in related industries such as consumer-facing ones will thus see further increases. Hiring demand is also expected to remain high for the rest of 2022, on the back of upcoming year-end festivities, said Teo.

“As we emerge from the pandemic, this is our collective opportunity to act with urgency, to scale bold, disruptive ideas and collaborations across business, government and education,” said Jonas Prising, chairman and chief executive officer of ManpowerGroup.

“Now is the time to reshape a better, brighter future for workers – one that is more skilled, more diverse, and more well-being-orientated than we could ever have imagined.” THE BUSINESS TIMES