In Q1 of 2020, employers in Singapore expect to see an increase in hiring pace, with 13% expressing plans to hire, according to the latest ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey released today (10 December).

That said, of the 630 employers involved in the survey, 5% said they expect to let staff go, while a majority (79%) did not anticipate any change in headcounts.

Following these sentiments, the overall net employment outlook for the quarter (seasonally adjusted) stood at +9%, a five percentage-point (pp) improvement from the previous quarter (+4%). It is expected to "remain relatively stable" as compared to the same period in 2019.

Linda Teo, ManpowerGroup Singapore Country Manager, commented: "While employers are cautiously optimistic in their hiring plans for the upcoming quarter, they will adjust their hiring plans in reaction to changing market conditions.

"As such, labour market activity is expected to be volatile."

Hiring outlook across seven industry sectors in Singapore for Q1 2020

Note: All net employment outlook figures shown are seasonally adjusted.
Looking at each of the seven key industry sectors in Singapore, employers across the board foresee an increase in payroll in the coming quarter, with stronger hiring intentions seen in six of them as compared quarter-on-quarter (q-o-q).



Public administration & education

Of the industry sectors, the public administration & education sector anticipated the strongest labour market. In fact, hiring plans are expected to remain "relatively stable" as compared to Q4 2019, and is forecasted to improve 16pp year-on-year (y-o-y).



On this, Teo explained: "More companies are investing in employee training to plug the skill gaps in their workforce. Foreseeing demand for education services to continue growing, firms in the public administration & education sector plan to hire to ensure they have sufficient manpower."

Finance, insurance & real estate

This industry sector has reported the second highest net employment outlook for Q1 2020, at +15%, showcasing a "favourable" hiring climate. When compared q-o-q, hiring prospects improved by 9pp (Q4 2019: +6%), and stood 8pp stronger than the same period in 2019.



Mining & construction

Employers in this industry anticipated the strongest hiring pace in four years, with a net employment outlook of +12%.

Hiring intentions here were also seen to be 2pp better than the previous quarter, and 6pp higher than Q1 of 2019.


Transportation & utilities

The net employment outlook for this industry next quarter stood at +12%, with employers anticipating the strongest hiring pace in two years.

A considerable improvement of 19pp is observed q-o-q, growing 8pp when compared to the same period in 2019.



Employers in the services industry sector expected to see a "modest" increase in payrolls in Q1 2020, reporting a net employment outlook of +8%. They also reported an increase in hiring intentions (6pp) from the quarter before. However, when compared y-o-y, the outlook for Q1 2020 records at a 4pp decline from that of Q1 2019.


Wholesale & retail trade

Despite a 2pp decline in hiring intentions in this industry in the approaching quarter (net employment outlook: +6%), as compared to the previous quarter, it is anticipated to remain "relatively stable" when compared y-o-y. In fact, employers here expected to see some opportunities for hiring in the coming three months.



This industry sector has reported a net employment outlook of +3%, the lowest observed of all seven studied. More importantly, employers here said they expect to see limited hiring opportunities in the coming quarter.

While the outlook has still recorded a slight improvement q-o-q (3pp), it has seen a significant decline (11pp) when compared to Q1 of 2019.

Snapshot: Singapore's net employment outlook trend over 5 years

Lead photo / 123RF

Infographics / ManpowerGroup