With increased foreign investment and government support, sectors like life sciences / healthcare / pharma and information technology (IT&T) remain optimistic in terms of business growth and headcount increases for the second half of 2016 in Singapore (H2 2016).

In RGF Singapore's new market survey of 500 professionals, hiring is expected to take place in the life sciences (39%), IT&T (38%), and manufacturing / engineering (33%) sectors in H2 2016.

Among organisations that are increasing their headcount, the largest number of open roles are expected to be functional (39%), with 25% of technical vacancies, and 16% being roles within financial institutions.

RGF Singapore has pointed to an increase in demand for sales, business development and marketing roles, as well as a 13% increase in HR roles [illustrated below].

RGF Singapore report data by Diana

At the same time, the pessimistic growth outlook for the energy sector and technology/online businesses implies a decrease in headcount in H2 2016, reported by 38% and 19% of respondents respectively.

The consumer goods sector is also facing more competition, with changes in buying modes and patterns. With Brexit, exchange rates have become favourable for online purchases on overseas sites and this is increasing pressure on this sector - with 16% anticipating layoffs in the second half of this year.

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On the salary front, a majority of respondents do not anticipate too much movement, with close to two in three (63%) reporting 'no change' in compensation packages. About one-third (32%) may look to increase pay, while just 5% actually expect to decrease pay.

In tandem with other data points from the survey, the increased optimism and hiring outlook for the manufacturing, engineering, and industrial sectors sees 23% of respondents anticipating to hand out pay rises of 6-10%.

Two in every five respondents (40%) also pointed to similar salary increases in the life sciences, healthcare and pharmaceutical sector.

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