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STEADY OUTLOOK FOR SINGAPORE HIRING
Overall hiring intentions dip slightly but some sectors show sustained growth
Singapore – 14 July 2015 – Hiring sentiment in the second half of 2015 in Singapore is cautious and reflective of a ‘wait and see’ approach with a net 32.1% of employers expecting to increase headcount, a slight decrease of 4.9 percentage points (pp) from the first half of 2015, according to the latest Hudson Report: Employment Trends, released today.1
“While we are seeing certain sectors such as ICT2 and professional services showing strong net hiring sentiment, in other sectors we are seeing companies focus on keeping their headcount lean as they enter the second half of the year. Careful consideration is given before adding new headcount unless it is for a business-critical role, or a sales or sales support role, which is where we are seeing heightened demand,” said Mr Emmanuel White, Regional Director, Hudson Singapore.
The hiring market is still robust, he adds, with one in three employers looking to increase their permanent headcount in the second half of the year.
“Talent at the mid to senior level is still very much in demand for key regional positions as well as demand for business partner roles that work in collaboration with business stakeholders for example in finance and ICT,” Mr White said.
“Our clients are telling us that Singapore remains the top choice for companies to locate their executive headquarters from where they can manage and oversee their operations in Asia. However, organisations are conscious of cost efficiencies and are streamlining headcount to ensure their strategic and key global industry hires are based in Singapore whilst middle management operations roles are offshored to nearby markets,” said Mr White.
The ICT sector leads the charge: one in two look to hire
The ICT sector is showing the strongest intentions to hire with a net 55.3% of employers looking to increase headcount, up 2.9 pp from the first half of 2015. This is the strongest net hiring sentiment in the ICT sector since 2011.
“The ICT sector has shown strong and sustained growth over the past 12 months as companies invest in updating their IT systems and platforms,” Mr White said.
“We are currently seeing a demand for IT solution sales roles, a trend driven by specialised IT vendors that are new to the market and have developed technology in areas such as big data, cloud solutions, business intelligence and security solutions.”
Professional services, healthcare and life sciences sectors see strong hiring intentions
The professional services sector is also showing strong intentions to hire, with a net 43.6% of employers looking to increase headcount, up 2.5 pp from the first half of 2015 (H1 2015).
The healthcare and life sciences sector meanwhile is showing the sharpest increase in intentions to hire of all sectors, with a net 34.3% of employers looking to increase headcount in the second half of the year, up 8.7 percentage points from H1 2015.
As Singapore positions itself as a global medical technology hub3, Mr White said more pharmaceutical companies are establishing bases here, which is having a positive effect on hiring.
“We are also seeing a consolidation trend in the sector, as companies acquire competitors or form joint venture partnerships in the region. As a result there is high demand – and a shortage of supply – for technical roles such as clinical specialists and senior positions at director level including more global industry experts.”
Across the sectors, there is a strong emphasis on sales, Mr White added.
“Sales roles are very popular right now, across the board. Most industries are trying to expand their footprint and drive growth.”
Banking and financial services sector shows the strongest decline in hiring intentions
Of all sectors, the banking and finance industry has shown the strongest decline in hiring intentions, with a net 21.9% of employers intending to increase headcount in the second half of the year, down 14.3 pp from H1 2015, according to today’s findings.
“The sector, and particularly international banks, is facing some challenges, and that appears to be impacting capacity for adding new headcount. As has been well documented, China demand is easing, plus with uncertainty over the Eurozone it’s not surprising to see a softening in demand in this climate,” Mr White said.
“That said we are seeing an increase in hiring activity from Asian banks. These institutions are certainly hiring, and private wealth relationship managers are particularly in demand at present.”
Reflecting on the overall results, Mr White said Singapore was well placed for a steady half year of hiring ahead, particularly in pockets such as ICT, professional services, life sciences and sales across all sectors.
“A key theme we will continue to see is a talent-driven market with skills shortages in key areas so employers need to recognise and take on great talent when they are available.”
Data for The Hudson Report: Employment Trends was collated through telephone surveys with 473 employers in Singapore about their hiring intentions for July to December 2015.
The ICT sector here is defined as companies within the software, infrastructure and communication industry. This would include system integrators and vendor companies. This does not include corporate IT.
3 Medical Technology Singapore, Singapore Economic Development Board
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The Hudson Report frequently refers to the term ‘net sentiment’. The net effect figure is calculated by taking the percentage of employers surveyed that expect to increase permanent staff levels, or their contracting/temporary workforce, during the forthcoming six months and subtracting the percentage of employers surveyed that expect to decrease staff levels.
About the Hudson Report
The Hudson Report is an established employment trend report, based on in-depth and nationwide research.
Released every half year, this report highlights key hiring trends gathered from interviews with 473 employers in Singapore.
Hudson is a global talent solutions company with expertise in leadership and specialized recruitment, recruitment process outsourcing, talent management and contracting solutions. We help our clients and candidates succeed by leveraging our expertise, deep industry and market knowledge, and proprietary assessment tools and techniques. Through relationships with millions of specialized professionals in 22 countries, we bring an unparalleled ability to match talent with opportunities by assessing, recruiting, developing and engaging the best and brightest people for our clients. We combine broad geographic presence, world-class talent solutions and a tailored, consultative approach to help businesses and professionals achieve higher performance and outstanding results. More information is available at Hudson.com.
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