SINGAPORE (Sept 11): Employers in Singapore continue to report stronger hiring intentions for 4Q18, according to data reported by workforce solutions company ManpowerGroup.

Based on findings from the latest ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey, Net Employment Outlook (NEO) was +13% after accounting for seasonal variation. This marks the third consecutive quarters of strengthening hiring outlooks for Singapore, with employers reporting the most optimistic forecast since 2015.

NEO is derived by taking the percentage of employers anticipating an increase in hiring activity, and subtracting from this the percentage of employers expecting to see a decrease in employment at their location in the next quarter.

Out of 620 employers surveyed in Singapore, 16% intend to add to their head count, while only 3% expect to decrease. 75% anticipate no change.

As such, staffing levels are expected to rise across all seven industry sectors in 4Q18, with employers in the public administration & education sector reporting a hiring outlook of +37%, 23 percentage points up from the previous quarter.

Meanwhile, steady workforce growth is expected in the finance insurance & real estate sector and the services sector, with reported outlooks of +14% and +12% respectively. Outlooks of +11% were reflected by both the manufacturing sector and mining & construction sector.

Elsewhere, ManpowerGroup expects a comparatively slow hiring pace in the wholesale trade & retail trade sector (+9%) as well as the transportation & utilities sector (+4%).

Employer confidence has dipped q-o-q in three sectors, notably finance, insurance & real estate, which reported a considerable decrease of 11 percentage points.

Hiring outlooks have nonetheless strengthened y-o-y in five of the seven sectors with a substantial increase of 16 and 12 percentage points reported for the public administration & education sector and the mining & construction sector, respectively.

Commenting on the continued strong hiring forecast for Singapore in 4Q, Linda Teo, Country Manager of ManpowerGroup Singapore, notes that more companies have been recruiting specialists in IT and other digital functions as they undergo digital transformation.

“With Singapore’s economic growth projected to remain on track, employers across all sectors remain optimistic about business prospects and their expansion plans,” she says.

While Teo views the strong 4Q forecast as good news for job seekers, she cautions that it is only for those with the relevant skill sets and experience.

“ManpowerGroup’s recent Talent Shortage Survey revealed that 56% of employers in Singapore are struggling to find candidates with right skills to fill jobs. Job seekers who are not hearing back from interviewers should invest some time to pick up the latest in-demand skills to boost their chances of securing a job,” she advises.

Regionally, ManpowerGroup notes that employers in Japan have the strongest hiring intentions for the next three months ahead (+26%) followed by Taiwan (+21%), Hong Kong (+17%), and New Zealand (+15). The weakest labour market is anticipated in China (+6) despite positive hiring intentions across all sectors.