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One in Four Firms to Hire More
Source: The Straits Times http://www.straitstimes.com/BreakingNews/Singapore/Story/STIStory_575543.html
Source Date: Tuesday, September 07, 2010
Focus: ICT for MDGs, Citizen Engagement
Country: Singapore
Created: Sep 07, 2010

The economy may be slowing as projected but jobseekers in the coming months can draw hope from a new employment survey of 700 Singapore companies.

It shows 25 per cent plan to hire more workers while only three per cent intend to cut their headcount in the last quarter of this year.

So overall, the net employment outlook is a seasonally adjusted 23 per cent, according to findings of a quarterly survey released on Monday by Manpower Staffing Services, the Singapore office of global human resources consultancy Manpower Inc.

This is an improvement on the 15 per cent reported for the final quarter of 2009, reflecting the improved hiring sentiments in the wake of the rebound in Singapore's economy. However, when compared to other Asia-Pacific countries, the optimism of Singapore bosses rank behind those of China (47 per cent), Taiwan (40 per cent), and India (38 per cent).

In all, Manpower polled 62,000 employers in 36 countries and territories.

For Singapore, it surveyed 699 companies in seven industry sectors. Of these, 7 out of 10 companies plan to maintain their staff strength, with two per cent saying they are unsure.

Although the net employment outlook for the final quarter, compared to the current quarter, has hardly changed, the findings show most of the seven sectors appear to be slowing their pace of hiring. This is in line with a projected slowdown in the Singapore economy, which grew by a record 18 per cent in the first six months this year.

Economists are forecasting slower growth for the rest of the year, due to a shaky economic recovery in the United States and the Europe debt problems. Only two sectors look set to quicken their pace in the last quarter, compared to the third quarter, according to the Manpower survey.

These are the public administration and education sector, with a net employment outlook of 29 per cent, and the wholesale trade and retail trade sector (27 per cent).

Least optimistic is the transport and utilities sector, whoseoutlook has plunged from 23 per cent to 7 per cent. The other sectors are mining and construction (19 per cent); finance, insurance and real estate (18 per cent); services (17 per cent); and manufacturing (14 per cent).

One company in the transport and utilities sector that is keen to hire more till year-end is Halcon Primo Logistics, which provides integrated logistics solutions in areas such as warehousing and freight forwarding. It had hired about 10 workers this quarter and plans to hire another 18 in the next few month to beef up its workforce of 107, of which seven are based in its offices in Malaysia, Australia and China.

Said its director Albert Fan, 49: 'We're aware that there are some companies pulling back on recruitment because of consolidation and the uncertain economic outlook. We feel our business is very niched and we see opportunities for long-term growth.'
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