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S’pore’s employment forecast for Q4 2017 strongest in 2 years: Poll

S’pore’s employment forecast for Q4 2017 strongest in 2 years: Poll
Singapore's founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew. Today, Singapore at 52 faces a whole new set of challenges: An ageing population, disruptive technologies, regional competitors snapping at our heels, narrowing geopolitical space, security threats, a changing employment landscape and evolving citizen aspirations. TODAY file photo
Published: 4:00 AM, September 12, 2017

SINGAPORE — Job seekers can expect more hiring opportunities as more employers are planning to add to their headcount in the fourth quarter, according to the latest ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey released yesterday.

Out of 700 employers surveyed by the workforce solutions company, 16 per cent expect to increase their staffing levels over the next three months, while 5 per cent forecast a decrease and 74 per cent anticipate no change, according to the report.

The resulting net employment outlook is a growth of 11 per cent after seasonal variations have been taken into account.

This is the strongest outlook in two years, improving by 7 percentage points from the previous quarter and 4 percentage points from the same period, respectively.

Ms Linda Teo, country manager of ManpowerGroup Singapore said the rise in net employment outlook might be attributed to employer confidence bolstered by Singapore’s recent economic growth, which grew by 2.7 per cent in the first half of the year.

“Although there’s a renewed confidence amongst employers, many remain wary and are adopting the wait-and-see mentality amid worries that trade numbers could weaken and domestic demand may stall despite the potential pick-up in trade,” she added.

Staffing levels are forecast to climb in six of the seven industry sectors during the last three months of the year.

The public administration and education sector remains the strongest, with employers reporting a solid net employment outlook of 22 per cent expansion.

Employers in the services sector and the transportation and utilities sector also forecast a steady increase in staffing levels.

“The stronger hiring outlook in the services sector reflects the expected surge in demand for IT specialists, especially those dealing with cyber operations and cyber security as more companies go digital,” said Ms Teo, adding that Singapore’s Smart Nation project is also expected to drive demand for data scientists and software engineers.

Employers in the finance, insurance and real estate sector, the wholesale and retail trade sector, and the manufacturing sector meanwhile expect a modest rise in hiring outlook.

The mining and construction sector is the one weak spot, with a contractionary outlook of 1 per cent, the lowest in more than eight years, according to the report.