Foo Tun Chuan
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For Immediate Release
HIRING EXPECTATIONS STILL CAUTIOUS IN SINGAPORE
Most employers will maintain headcount in next quarter says new report
SINGAPORE – 24 JULY 2012 – Hiring expectations in Singapore have dipped this quarter as more employers adopt a ‘wait and see’ approach; just over a third (34.7%) of respondents plan to increase headcount while more than half (57.8%) will maintain it for Q3 2012, according to the latest Hudson Report: Employment Trends published today.
These figures represent a decline on the previous three months - positive hiring intentions were 42.4% in Q2. The survey shows a slight increase - from 6.2% in Q2 – to 7.4% of employers planning to cut staff numbers in the coming quarter.
Hudson (NASDAQ: HSON), a global talent solutions company, surveyed 567 Singapore employers in June for the for the July-September period.
Andrew Tomich, Executive General Manager of Hudson Singapore, said the survey findings reflect the current economic climate: “The Singaporean economy is showing a slowdown as most employers are looking for greater stability in the U.S. and Europe before committing to significant expansion of their workforces. Current market sentiment is best described as cautious so it’s crucial for companies to invest in people who can help them navigate these turbulent times.”
A cautious climate
Just over a fifth (22.9%) of employers say they feel ‘optimistic’ about the Singaporean economy. Almost three quarters (70.7%) report feeling ‘cautious’ or ‘uncertain’ and about one in 20 (6.4%) feel ‘negative’ or ‘pessimistic’.
Of those feeling cautious, more than three quarters (78.0%) say this has had a tangible effect on their hiring behaviour including adopting more stringent headcount approval processes (66.6%), implementing hiring freezes for non-core roles (38.4%) and slowing down decisions about new hires (36.4%).
Mr Tomich says more strategic measures are needed to maximise return on investment in human capital. “Creating competitive advantage is about making better hiring decisions most of the time. We are definitely seeing more stringent and protracted recruitment processes to justify hiring, and an increasing need to demonstrate how a new hire will deliver a return on investment. Global organisations are seeking senior executive approvals and multiple interviews, but the increased time spent making decisions may not automatically translate into better hiring outcomes,” he said.
Mr Tomich adds that many employers could improve the rigour of their recruitment processes. “Some employers are starting to assess candidates to ensure the right fit but much more can be done to reduce risk and help ensure high performance. Companies should focus less on traditional methods that prioritise technical qualifications and experience and instead look at assessments that measure candidates’ motivational and behavioural attributes,” he said.
Most confident industries
Consumer is the most positive sector; almost half (42.9%) of employers plan to increase headcount over the next quarter. Hiring appetite is strongest for people with consumer electronics and retail experience.
Manufacturing & Industrial is also positive; 40.0% of employers expect to add to their teams in the next three months. Healthcare & Life Sciences companies are recruiting too, although at a lower level than in Q2; 39.5% of employers in this sector say they will boost headcount this quarter, a drop of 17.2pp since April.
Less confident industries
Fewer than one in 10 employers (7.4%) plan to reduce staff numbers over the next three months. This figure represents a slight increase on the last quarter (by 1.2pp) but remains low.
Banking & Financial Services firms are most likely to decrease headcount. Around one in 10 (11.6%) say they expect to do this. As challenging operating conditions continue, the majority of banks in Singapore are limiting themselves to critical hires. Demand is greatest for risk management and compliance professionals plus essential back office operational roles.
Other sectors report only single digit intentions to decrease staff numbers: 8.0% of IT&T employers say they intend to do this, followed by 6.3% of consumer enterprises.
The contractor factor
The contracting market remains steady in Singapore; around a third of companies (30.3%) report they are using temporary and fixed term contractors more often since the GFC.
Contractors are often used to address capability and capacity issues caused by headcount restrictions, particularly in IT&T and Banking & Financial Services. Most in-demand contractors for IT&T include those with operations and support function experience as well as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) expertise. Banks and financial services firms are looking for contractors who can boost their back office, compliance and risk management functions.
While some employers report difficulty in attracting contractors with appropriate skills and experience as local professionals tend to prefer permanent roles, this is changing as the contracting market matures.
Adapting for success
Mr Tomich believes companies must adapt to succeed in uncertain times. “Employers are looking for people with specific attributes to help them thrive, not just survive, in this difficult climate. They want people who are flexible, open to change and willing to embrace new responsibilities, who are resilient and not deterred by stress or setbacks. People with these qualities will be in great demand in the immediate and longer term future,” he said.
The Hudson Report: Employment Trends report has a reputation as a key socio-economic indicator in the current marketplace. Since its launch in 2000, the survey has been built on the premise that employers’ expectations of an increase or decrease in staffing levels represent a significant indication of their level of optimism in the growth of their organisation and their industry as a whole. The report surveys the expectations of nearly 6,800 key employment decision makers in Asia-Pacific including multinational organisations of all sizes in all major industry sectors.
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Hudson Global Resources (S) Pte Ltd. (EA Licence: 03C4590)
Hudson is a global talent solutions company with expertise in leadership and specialized recruitment, contracting solutions, recruitment process outsourcing, talent management and eDiscovery. We help our clients and candidates succeed by leveraging our expertise, deep industry and market knowledge, and proprietary assessment tools and techniques. With more than 2,000 people in 20 countries, and relationships with millions of specialized professionals, 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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