SINGAPORE (June 11): Despite continued economic headwinds, Singaporean employers are still optimistic in their hiring plans for 3Q19, according to the latest ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey released today.

The survey, which saw over 660 respondents, found that 15% of employers intend to increase their staffing levels, while a majority 77% forecast no change to their payrolls.

Meanwhile, the resulting Net Employment Outlook for the next quarter is expected to remain stable at 12%, a 1 percentage point (pp) increase from the last quarter, but unchanged from the same period last year.

Linda Teo, country manager of ManpowerGroup Singapore says, “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.”

“While forecast labour market activity in Singapore continues to remain positive, job seekers can expect the hiring process to be longer as employers are likely to spend more time evaluating candidates before making a decision,” adds Teo.

Among the seven industry sectors – finance insurance & real estate, manufacturing, mining & construction, public admin & education, service, transportation & utilities, and wholesale trade & retail trade – the survey showed that the public administration & education sector reported the highest hiring outlook of 22%, a 5pp increase from the previous quarter.

Positive workforce gains are also anticipated in the services sector, with an 18% growth outlook, while the transportation & utilities sector and the mining & construction sector have growth outlooks of 10% and 9%, respectively.

“The surge in hiring intentions in the public administration & education sector reflects the sector’s confidence in business prospects for the upcoming quarter,” says Teo. “Driven by digitalisation and tighter restrictions on foreign manpower, Singaporean employers are upskilling their current workforce to address their skills gaps, thus increasing demands for training services.”

Regionally, respondents from all eight Asia Pacific countries forecast growth in payrolls in the upcoming quarter. Employers in Japan (25%) and Taiwan (22%) are anticipating the strongest hiring activity, while the weakest are seen in China (8%), New Zealand (12%) and Singapore (12%).