Ronald Lee, managing director and founder of PrimeStaff in Singapore has published his company’s insight into the likely business outlook for the recruitment industry in the first quarter of the new year. Lee notes that local economists are predicting slower growth for Singapore in 2015 and that there is a possibility that the local economy may contract as a number of world events may negatively impact Singapore’s economy.
To begin with, the Chinese economy has started slowing down and this is expected to continue into next year, moderating to seven per cent for 2015. Oil prices continue to slide while economic woes in the Eurozone persist. Meanwhile, the Ebola outbreak, if drastically worsened, may derail global recovery.
Lee notes that this comes against the backdrop of Singapore’s continued economic restructuring and tight control on foreign worker supply leading to higher labour costs. However, given the usual quick and level–headed response of both the Singapore government and employers to such challenges, Lee’s company expects the economy to remain status quo.
Companies will continue to hire to fill current vacancies, which remain unfilled due to various reasons including the following:
1) Jobseekers tend to be more selective and less willing to compromise on their interests;
2) Jobseekers in general are not facing dire financial challenges and can thus take their time to secure a job;
3) Employers are not prepared to pay the salaries jobseekers are expecting.
“Due to this tight labour situation,” says Lee, “we will see more employers willing to exercise workplace flexibility to attract retirees and women back to employment. This will help discourage the desire to retire.
“We foresee the national unemployment rate of about two per cent will remain whilst the unemployment rate among the younger workers (those in their late 20s) will hover around six per cent,” Lee continues. “The participation rate for women and the older workers will continue to rise.”
In Q1 2015, PrimeStaff expects to see strong hiring activity in the finance, insurance and IT sectors for PMEs, and the service and food and beverage industries for frontline workers. Additionally, there will continue to be a demand for engineers and traders.
Looking at recruitment and human resources trends, PrimeStaff identifies the following factors:
1. Increased hiring of older workers: Companies are currently more open and willing to hire mature workers and retirees, as the bias towards the hiring of the elderly has been broken. There is a greater adoption of flexible work arrangements supported by government incentives and the increased publicity of such practices will serve to encourage this trend.
2. Greater employment of temporary / part-time workers: The tight labour market will see more temporary and part-time employees being hired. This will also lead the younger ones to enter the labour market.
Decline in hiring of foreign workers: “We anticipate a continued decline in the hiring of foreign workers due to the tighter foreign worker quotas,” says Lee, “however, we foresee an increase in the employment of foreign PMETs.”
Consequently, the company makes the following reccomendations: