Q1 Employment Outlook

PrimeStaff’s Press Release, Wednesday, 9th January 2013

The   global   economy   appears   to   be   stabilising    and   is   more     positive     compared   with   recent    months.   Now   that the United States elections are    over and news that the    “fiscal    cliff”    has been avoided, more certainty   has returned to the markets.  This has helped to    boost economic and business sentiment around    the world.        

On    home    ground,    however,    economists    are    predicting    muted    growth for Singapore    this    year,   which   is   attributed   to   the   slowdown   in regional   economies   such   as   Korea   and   Japan,   as    well   as   the   continued   gloomy   outlook   in   the    euro zone.         

Overall,   Singapore’s   economy   is   likely   to   remain similar to 2012, if not better.   


The  first  quarter  of  each  year  traditionally  sees  a    flurry  of    movement    in  the  job  market,  as    people  tend    to    seek    new    opportunities     after      the  Chinese   New   Year   period     when     they   receive  their    bonus. The   start   of   the   year   is   also   when   companies    allocate      their    budgets,    establish    their    hiring    plans   for   the   year,   and     begin     their   recruitment    drives,   which     also     contributes   to     the   spike   in    hiring activity.          

However,  given    the    forecast    for    moderate    economic   growth   in   2013,   some   companies   are    tightening   their     recruitment     budgets   so   most of the   hiring   is   likely   to   be   for     replacement     roles instead of new jobs created.    Some    organisations may even streamline their headcounts by having    more   staff   on   a   contractual   basis   or   on   flexi-­‐ work programmes.         

Due   to   the   prolonged   economic   challenges   in    the  euro  zone  and  sluggish  growth  in  the  United    States,  many  Multinational  Corporations  (MNCs)    located   in   Singapore   have   already   implemented  a    hiring  freeze    on  new  and  replacement  roles.    

All  in all,     Singapore’s   unemployment   rate   is    expected    to    remain    status    quo.   There is,    however,   the   possibility   of   a   very   slight   increase in unemployment during this period.     


The sectors that will be hiring aggressively in Q1, 2013      will be Hospitality,    Food & Beverage,    Retail,    Construction,    and      Healthcare.    This    is    mainly   due   to   the   manpower   crunch   in   these    sectors     resulting   from   the   tightening   of   the    foreign worker    employment    policies.    

Another contributing factor to    this phenomenon    is     Singapore’s     perennial   emphasis     on   tourism   as    a    key pillar of the    economy.  Naturally, a   boost in tourism    translates    to    a    spike    in    manpower    demand     for   the   Hospitality,   Food & Beverage, and   Retail   sectors   in   particular.  These sectors  will  also  require  more  manpower    in  the  build-­‐up  to  Chinese  New  Year    in    February.         

We   are   also   seeing   greater   demand   for   workers    in    certain    niche    areas    such    as    Education    Research,   IT   engineering,   and     Customer   Service    roles in the Insurance industry.         

At   the   other   end     of   the   spectrum,   the   sectors    that     may   lay off     workers   include   Manufacturing    and   Banking.   The     former   will   be   affected   by    sluggish   global   economic     conditions     while   the    Banking industry faces stiff competition    and    may    have   to     restructure   its   workforce   in     response   to    changing market needs.

Ronald Lee
Managing Director
PrimeStaff Management Services Pte Ltd

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