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21 Dec 2009

Vol.4 (En)

More Companies Plan To Hire In First Quarter Of 2010 / Unemployment Situation in Singapore

More Companies Plan To Hire In First Quarter Of 2010

Singapore Job seekers can expect increased hiring opportunities at the start of 2010 as the employment market returns to its pre-recession levels. The latest Manpower Employment Outlook Survey done by Manpower Singapore in Dec 09 informed that 27% of the 699 employers surveyed among seven industry sectors in Singapore indicated intentions to increase headcount. 65% of the surveyed expected no change in their staff strength, while only about 6% anticipate a decrease in workforce. The most robust hiring prospects are reported in the finance, insurance and real estate sector, and in the public administration and education sector.

In India, a Manpower Employment Outlook Survey for Q1 2010 conducted on a global scale revealed that there is increased optimism among employers in the Asia-Pacific region, with manufacturing being the likely key employment driver. India's employment outlook at 36% leads the other economies, while Singapore and Taiwan come in second best at 22%. Superpowers China and the US stand at 11% and 6% respectively.

In the same survey, Japan was the only economy in the Asia-Pacific region reporting a negative employment outlook. However, the Japanese Cabinet is relentless in their fight to improve the economy, and subsequently its employment conditions. And has announced another 7,200 billion yen stimulus into its economy in hope to prevent a double dip into recession. In addition, Prime Minister Hatoyama, determined to present himself as the "employment" Prime Minister, is considering to ban manufacturers in the country from hiring temporary workers in order to encourage more full time employment.

Globally, hiring is expected to pick up throughout Asia Pacific (except Japan) and America. The forecasts for Europe, West Asia and Africa are mixed in results. India, Brazil, Singapore, Taiwan, Costa Rica, Australia, and Peru are countries where hiring looked most optimistic for Q1 2010. On the other end of the stick, hiring in Ireland, Romania, and Spain is predicted to be the weakest.

Unemployment Situation in Singapore

Coming back to hiring opportunities in Singapore - Following Singapore's exit from recession in Q3 2009, the labour market shows "encouraging signs of a turnaround", said Singapore's Ministry of Manpower (MOM). Between June and September, employment grew by 14,000, offsetting the 13,900 jobs lost in the first half of this year. However, despite more jobs vacancies added and lesser people laid off, the unemployment rate in Singapore has currently hit 5 per cent, a five-year high.

One of the reasons for this, as explained by Assistant Secretary General of the National Trades Union Congress - Ms Josephine Teo, is that job-seekers tend to seek jobs that pay close to what they used to earn. Long-term unemployment (6 months without a job) numbers have doubled comparatively at 9,600 in last year's Q3 and at 18,400 in September this year. Focusing on university graduates, the unemployment numbers have quadrupled from 1,600 to 4,700 on year-to-year Q3s.

Economists say the peculiar situation of jobs growth coupled with high unemployment is a result of more residents entering the job market as the economy improves. However, economists remain upbeat and foresee unemployment numbers to drop in the New Year when growth is expected to hit 5.5 percent (according to a recent poll by Monetary Authority of Singapore).

Meanwhile, MOM's Minister of State Lee Yi Shyan, emphasised that "the Government remains focused on job creation and training, while those who are unemployed are encouraged to retrain and re-skill so that they can find a job as quickly as possible."