Bosses To Hire More In Q2, But Fewer Willing To Pay More To Retain Staff
A survey of 564 top executives at multi-national corporations forecasted that Singapore employers are expected to increase hiring between April and June of this year, emulating the pre-recession peaks seen in 2007.
Global recruitment firm Hudson's quarterly survey report highlighted that 54 per cent of the surveyed have intentions to hire staff backed by the strong economic recovery. This figure is just slightly below the 56 per cent peak between January and June of 2007 - when the economy was booming. The figure is also a rise from 51 per cent in the previous quarter.
Sectors most keen in recruitment are banking and financial services, health care and life sciences, and manufacturing and industrial. Only 3 per cent of the surveyed conveyed that they will cut head-count, compared to 19 per cent a year ago.
However, the optimism of the improving economy and employment forecast did not lift the morale of Singapore workers as much as it did for workers in the other parts of Asia. In Singapore, 35 per cent say employee morale has improved while 34 per cent say it has declined and 31 per cent reported no change, said Hudson. Compared to China, the corresponding figures are 45 per cent, 17 per cent and 38 per cent. Among the most pessimistic of Singapore employees are those in the consumer sector (55 per cent) and in media, public relations and advertising (54 per cent). Madam Halimah Yacob, Deputy Secretary-General of the National Trades Union Congress, attributed the lowered morale to workers having to work longer hours as business improves, but with vacancies yet to be filled. She added that recruiting the right person for a job can take three to four months.
Singapore's economy soared in Q1 of 2010, growing 13.1 per cent from a year ago, and 32.1 per cent against Q4 of 2009. The economy's performance offers a growing optimism among companies that the Singapore's economic recovery is sustainable. Singapore's Prime Minister Mr Lee Hsien Loong announced, during Singapore's May Day rally, that at least 100,000 jobs will be created - against 37,600 last year - should the economy grow at the forecast rate of 7 per cent to 9 per cent this year. Singapore's overall unemployment rate had fallen to 2.2 per cent in March.
Hudson Asia's Chief Executive Mr Mike Game anticipated that as employment re-intensifies, an upward pressure will fall on salaries and bonuses. Employer's Central Provident Fund contribution rate is also going to rise by one percentage point to 15.5 per cent, an increase that will be introduced in two stages in September 2010 and March 2011. However, fewer employers are likely to offer a bigger pay packet to stop staff from leaving, the report states. Only 61 per cent will make a counter-offer to retain staff, compared to 71 per cent in the Q4 of the booming 2007. Of those willing to make a counter-offer, four in five say a higher base salary is most effective, compared to transfers (52 per cent) and promotion (38 per cent). Mr Game elaborated that the decline in the number of those willing to make counter-offers showed that employers are confident about finding candidates to fill vacancies amidst the recovering economy.