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28 Jan 2010

Vol.6 (En)

Would Positive 2010 Q1 Employment Forecast Survey Results Spell A Rapid Recovery of Singapore’s Employment Market?

In our inaugural issue of the SDS E-newsletter (vol.1) released in 2nd Nov 2009, we featured The Hudson Report covering the 2009 Q4 employment forecast for Singapore. Hudson’s survey of 600 executives across key business sectors in Aug 09 revealed that 34 per cent of the survey expected an increase in employment in the final quarter of 2009.

In the latest Hudson Report, the global human-resource consultancy’s new survey of more than 400 executives found that an astonishing 51 per cent of the surveyed would be looking to hire in 2010 Q1.
This is the greatest quarter-to-quarter rise in expectation in more than 11 years since the Hudson Report began in the Q4 of 1998. Notably, the 51 per cent of respondents across all sectors who plan to grow headcount this quarter is more than double the corresponding figure of 23 per cent year-on-year. CEO of Hudson Asia, Mike Game, mentioned that improvements were expected, but to move from a third to more than half on a quarter-on-quarter basis is a huge improvement.

The highest hiring expectations for 2010 Q1 comes from the banking and financial-services sector with 69 per cent planning to hire more staff, up from 43 per cent in the last quarter. In particular, candidates with experience in private banking, corporate finance and commodities trading are especially sought after.
High growth is also expected in the field of information technology and telecommunications, with 60 per cent of respondents expecting to grow headcount in Q1, up from 36 per cent in the previous quarter’s survey. The additional hiring is driven by demand for financial IT specialists, as it is forecasted that banks undertake major projects again.
The largest rise in hiring expectations is, however, seen in the media, advertising and public-relations sector. About 46 per cent of respondents plan to boost their recruitment in 2010 Q1 ? which is more than twice the figure in 2009 Q4’s survey, which stood at 18 per cent. This is also the only sector where no respondents said they plan to reduce headcount this year.
There is no change in hiring expectation forecasted for the health care and life sciences sector between 2010 Q1 and 2009 Q4 which stood at 44 per cent expecting headcount growth.

However, despite the improved results from the survey, Mr Game reminded and warned that Singapore is still in the recovery phase and that its labour market is still not where it was during the good times of 2006 and 2007. Consulting Leader of Towers Watson, Mr Kevin Ong pointed that reception of the highly positive figures from the recent surveys have to take into account the low bases of last year when many companies froze hiring. He also highlighted that the survey mostly covered MNCs and excluded the smaller companies that are likely to see slower recovery.

So will the positive 2010 Q1 employment forecast survey results spell a rapid recovery of Singapore’s employment market? After having just weathered through the recession storm in Q3 2009, Singaporeans will just welcome the results of the survey as an optimistic outlook for the Singapore employment market.
As the quote from Helen Keller describes "Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope or confidence."