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S’pore employers to increase staffing: Poll

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Public administration, education sectors report strongest outlook: Survey

Singaporean employers remain optimistic in their hiring plans for the third quarter of this year.

Fifteen per cent of employers intend to increase their staffing levels, while 3 per cent anticipate a decrease, and 77 per cent forecast no change to their payrolls, according to a survey released by recruitment company ManpowerGroup Employment today. The remaining 5 per cent did not know.

The resulting net employment outlook for the upcoming quarter is forecast to remain stable at positive 12 per cent, improving by one percentage point from the previous quarter.

Employers in all seven industry sectors in the survey expect to add to payrolls in the third quarter of this year, with those in the public administration and education sector reporting the strongest hiring outlook of positive 22 per cent, a jump of 5 percentage points from the previous quarter.

Positive workforce gains are anticipated in the services sector, where the outlook is positive 18 per cent - the biggest jump of the quarter, up by 8 percentage points on the third quarter of last year.

"The food and beverage industry is always looking for manpower," said Mr Mustaffa Kamal, 34, co-founder of The Black Hole Group, a food and beverage management company.

"In the future, the need for manpower in this industry might remain constant or drop due to technology."

Outlooks of positive 10 per cent and positive 9 per cent are reported in the transportation and utilities sector and the mining and construction sector, respectively.

Elsewhere, employers report moderate hiring plans, with outlooks standing at positive 8 per cent in both the manufacturing sector and the wholesale and retail trade sector.

"With news of a slowdown in the economy, there would be potential for business owners to look out for lower-cost, high-value employees," said executive director Jonathan Cheah, 43, of manufacturing company Faesol.

"In that a case, a musical chair recruitment outcome would occur."

In the finance, insurance and real estate sector, hiring intention is the weakest at positive 7 per cent, a decline of 18 percentage points on the corresponding quarter.

Ms Linda Teo, country manager of ManpowerGroup Singapore, said: "Employers in Singapore remain cautiously optimistic about their hiring plans in the midst of continued economic headwinds.

"Companies are expected to continue hiring to fill gaps in their workforce, albeit at a slower pace as many employers anticipate the impact of the ongoing trade war between China and the US to spill over into the local economy."