As the COVID-19 situation unfolds, employers in Singapore are anticipating a conservative hiring pace for the second quarter of 2020 (Q2 2020).

According to the latest?ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey, of the 622 employers in Singapore polled, only 13% of employers were expecting an increase in headcount, while 4% were expecting a decrease.

The good news is, 77% were planning to keep their workforce levels steady.

The resulting Net Employment Outlook (NEO) is +9% after seasonal variation. Hiring intentions remain constant when compared to last quarter but decline by 2 percentage points (pp) in a year-over-year comparison.

Linda Teo, Country Manager of ManpowerGroup Singapore, said: "As the survey was conducted in January when the Covid-19 outbreak was unfolding, employers were adjusting their hiring intentions to the developing situation. The extent of the impact on businesses remains unclear, but the recent downgrade in Singapore?s growth forecast by the Ministry of Trade and Industry is likely to further dampen employer confidence.

"Nonetheless, pockets of job opportunities can still be found across the various industries and sectors, such as within the Services sector or Financial, Insurance & Real Estate sector."


Among the seven?industry sectors included in the survey, the ones with the strongest jobs outlook were:

  • Services (+12%)
  • Finance insurance & real estate (+11%)
  • Transportation & utilities (+11%)
  • Public administration & education (+10%)
  • Mining & construction (+10%)
Meanwhile, the sector with the weakest labour market was the manufacturing sector, with an outlook of +6%. While the wholesale & retail trade sector forecasted an outlook of +9%.

Compared with the previous quarter, hiring sentiment weakened in four of the seven industry sectors - most notably in the public administration & education sector, which declined by 14 pp. Elsewhere, hiring plans improved by 4 pp in the services sector and were 2 pp stronger in two sectors ? the manufacturing sector and the wholesale & retail trade sector.


By organisation size,?strongest labour markets are forecast by large- and medium-sized employers, reporting NEOs of +12%. While small- and micro-sized organisations forecasted an outlook of +11% and +4%?respectively.

In Asia Pacific, employers in all seven countries and territories anticipate payroll gains in the next three months. The strongest Asia Pacific labour markets are forecast by employers in Japan (+24%) and Taiwan (+24%), while the weakest hiring pace is expected in Hong Kong (+1%).


Infographics / ManpowerGroup Lead image / 123RF