Following Minister of Manpower Tan Chuan-Jin’s warning about Singapore’s labour market becoming tighter, a new report has found a dip in local recruitment is expected in the second half of 2015.
According to the latest Manpower Employment Outlook Survey, job seekers in Singapore are likely to bear the brunt of employers’ jitters over the uncertain economy in the next six months.
Polling 700 employers in the country, the report concluded the net employment outlook for the second half of the year was 14%. This percentage was 4% lower than the last quarter of the year and also lower than last year at this time.
“Although workforce gains of varying margins are forecast in all seven industry sectors during the coming quarter, outlooks look to decline in five sectors when compared with the previous quarter with only the finance, insurance and real estate and mining and construction sectors bucking the downward trend,” the report stated.
“However, second-quarter outlooks are weaker in all seven industry sectors compared to the same period last year.”
Manufacturing was highlighted as being particularly hard hit, with employers in the sector forecasting the slowest hiring pace of 7%. This figure was eight percentage points weaker when compared with the previous quarter, but relatively stable in the year-over-year comparison.
“The hiring pace in the manufacturing industry is likely to be sluggish in the April-June time frame,” Linda Teo, country manager of ManpowerGroup Singapore, said.
“The repercussions of restructuring, labour shortage and the weak global economy are resonating in the industry. Furthermore, with falling oil prices, Singapore’s key offshore and marine engineering clusters in particular are holding on to their purse strings.”
The highest expected increase in headcount belonged to the finance, insurance and real estate sector, with an expected outlook of 20%. The mining and construction sector followed at 15%.
The report added hiring plans are expected to soften throughout the Asia Pacific region.
“Payrolls are expected to increase in all eight Asia Pacific countries and territories. However, outlooks are trending weaker than they have in the past and the hiring pace is expected to slow by varying margins in five countries and territories in both quarter-over-quarter and year-over-year comparisons,” the report stated.