Who’s hiring?

The Straits Times Recruit, Wednesday, 28th Nov 2012

Who’s hiring?

HR professionals need to know the important trends in the current economic environment.

It is always wise for recruiters and hiring managers to pay close attention to world current affairs and economic events as they have a direct impact on the employment outlook.

The economy appears to be relatively stable right now, but there is a residual undercurrent of uncertainty resulting from the euro zone debt crisis that remains unresolved, sluggish job growth in the United States, and weakened growth prospects in China.

With this in mind, what are the current recruitment and general HR trends recruiters should take note of in order to better plan their workforce strategies? The following excerpts from Employment Outlook Q3 2012 published by PrimeStaff Management Services offer these insights.

General employment outlook

The “star” sectors that are hiring are: hospitality (retail, food & beverage); health care, pharmaceuticals and biomedical sciences.

The hospitality sector will continue to shine due to strong demand from the domestic market as well as robust tourist arrival numbers.

The health care, pharmaceuticals and biomedical sciences industries will be buoyed largely due to increased government spending on public healthcare resulting from heightened health care needs of a growing and ageing population, the opening of the new Jurong General Hospital in 2014, and medical tourism, which continues to rise.

Apart from these, the information and communications technology sector will also see demand and growth.

At the other end of the spectrum, the financial and manufacturing sectors may see some re-engineering of their workforce. The major banks are susceptible to the euro zone risks and may restructure their business to focus on areas that enable them to maximise revenue.

Manufacturing companies are likely to trim their headcount as part of a long-term cost rationalisation strategy resulting from increased pressures on business costs and changing workforce dynamics exerted by the higher foreign worker levies and reduced Dependency Ratio Ceiling for foreign workers that took effect in July this year.

HR and recruitment trends to look out for

Increased hiring of Singaporeans versus foreigners: This will arise from the additional restrictions on the hiring of foreigners, and will result in a further tightening of Singapore’s local labour resources.

Rise in basic wages: An unofficial minimum wage may be established due to market forces of supply and demand to attract more Singaporeans to work in certain types of jobs and industries that were previously dominated by foreign workers.

Greater focus on talent acquisition, development & retention: With the talent war for Singaporeans heating up, companies will need to focus more on training and development initiatives in order to engage and retain their staff.

More companies may re-hire former employees: The increase in labour costs will put pressure on overall business costs. Re-employing ex-staff will help companies save on the cost of recruiting and training new staff.

Longer process to place candidates: Recruiters and hiring managers will have to work harder as it becomes more of an employees’ market, with candidates having more options to choose from and taking more time to consider the various job prospects on offer. 

Outsourcing of staffing solutions: Due to the uncertain economic climate, companies will continue to exercise greater prudence and are more likely to choose to outsource its recruitment needs because of the cost savings it produces.

Increased contract hiring and more flexible work arrangements: The uncertainty in the markets will create more justification for companies to offer workers more contract roles as well as flexible work arrangements as organisations may prefer not to commit to a large permanent workforce.

Article contributed by Ronald Lee, Managing Director of PrimeStaff Management Services Pte Ltd, an award-winning human resource consultancy specialising in recruitment, payroll processing, outplacement and training services. Tel: (65) 6222 3310. Email: enquiry@primestaff.com.sg. Website: www.primestaff.com.sg

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