SINGAPORE (Dec 12): The first quarter of 2018 will see a moderate hiring activity, according to the ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey (MEOS).

The survey forecasts a net employment outlook of a 9% increase in Singapore after interviewing nearly 650 employers.

The net employment outlook is derived by taking the percentage of employers anticipating total employment to increase and subtracting from this the percentage expecting to see a decrease in employment at their location in the next quarter.

For the coming quarter, 15% of Singaporean employers expect to increase their staffing levels over the next three months, while 6% forecast a decrease and 69% expect no changes.

Employers in the seven industry sectors – finance, insurance & real estate, manufacturing, mining & construction, public admin/education, services, transportation & utilities, and wholesale trade & real trade – expect to increase staffing levels during the next quarter.

The strongest labour markets are forecast in the finance, insurance & real estate sector, as well as the public administration & education sector. Both sectors recorded net employment outlooks of 25% growth, and also reported the strong hiring outlook in over three years.

Linda Teo, country manager of ManpowerGroup Singapore says, “The strong hiring pace anticipated [for the finance, insurance & real estate sector] could be attributed to the pickup in economic growth which has fanned consumer sentiment, leading to a greater appetite for loans and financial products like insurance. Also, as financial institutions continue to expand their digital capabilities, especially in the areas of cybersecurity and financial technology (fintech), there will be a consistent demand for IT talents like data analysts and blockchain specialists.”

On the other hand, the services sector is anticipating a steady hiring pace, reporting a net employment outlook of 15% increase, while the wholesale & retail trade sector reports an outlook of 9% growth.

Meanwhile, the manufacturing sector recorded an outlook of 6%, and both the mining & construction, as well as the transportation & utilities sectors recorded outlooks of 5%.

In Asia Pacific, payrolls are expected to increase in all countries and territories, with outlooks also trending stronger.

Taiwan employers reported the most optimistic forecast in the region, as well as across the globe, while China and Singapore reported the weakest forecasts in the region.