Even in the face of ongoing global economic uncertainties, Singapore's job market remains robust. Recent surveys reveal that a considerable number of local employers are committed to continuing their hiring activities in the last quarter of 2023. In fact, nearly 48 per cent of the surveyed employers have indicated to increase their workforce during this period.
Out of all the survey participants, 12 per cent are foreseeing a decrease in staffing levels. An additional 38 per cent of employers mentioned they have no intentions of altering their headcount, while 2 per cent expressed uncertainty about their hiring plans.
As a result, the seasonally adjusted net employment outlook for the fourth quarter stands at 36 per cent, indicating a 2-percentage-point increase compared to the previous quarter, stated the survey, by ManpowerGroup, a recruitment company. The findings of this survey were made public on Tuesday.
In Singapore, all nine sectors that were part of the survey are anticipating an expansion in their workforce. These sectors encompass a wide range of industries, including healthcare and life sciences, communication services, and information technology, among others.
“Employers are maintaining a confident but cautious outlook towards their hiring activity, continuing to grapple with the global economic slowdown and talent shortage concerns,” said Ms Linda Teo, country manager of ManpowerGroup Singapore.
In August, Singapore adjusted its economic growth projection for 2023 due to a less favourable outlook for the export-oriented manufacturing sector. Despite this downgrade, the Ministry of Trade and Industry clarified that the revised forecast, ranging from 0.5 per cent to 1.5 per cent, which was lowered from the initial projection of 0.5 per cent to 2.5 per cent, still anticipates relatively stronger growth in the second half of the year when compared to the first half.
According to the survey results, the transport, logistics, and automotive sector exhibits the most robust employment outlook, with a net 60 per cent of employers planning to recruit in the upcoming quarter. Notably, the hiring prospects for this sector have surged by 38 percentage points compared to the same period last year.
Similarly, the healthcare and life sciences sector showed robust hiring prospects, boasting a net employment outlook of 53 per cent, marking a significant 20 percentage point increase compared to the previous year.
However, not all industries are experiencing stronger growth. In contrast, the consumer goods and services sector reported the lowest employment outlook among the nine sectors surveyed, standing at just 23 per cent. This figure represents a substantial decline of 22 percentage points from the previous quarter and a 17 percentage point decrease compared to the same period in 2022.
Nonetheless, the survey revealed that over 80 per cent of the polled employers are grappling with a talent shortage. In response, hiring managers are increasingly adopting more inclusive and flexible strategies to tackle this talent scarcity.
Approximately 35 per cent of employers are willing to consider candidates who are older and seeking employment or a career change. Furthermore, 29 per cent of employers are open to hiring individuals who have previously been unemployed due to caretaking responsibilities.
“This pattern holds true across all organisation sizes, suggesting that older workers, with their domain knowledge and work experience, are still valued by firms,” ManpowerGroup said.