Hiring prospects in Singapore will see a decline in Q4 2019, down by 7 percentage points (pp) from the previous quarter. It will also see an eight pp drop year-on-year (y-o-y).

According to the latest ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey released today, a majority of the 669 employers surveyed in Singapore (77%) do not anticipate any increase or decrease in payrolls in Q4 2019.

On the other hand, just 13% anticipate an increase while a lower 8% expect a decrease in payrolls.

This, as a result, presents the weakest net employment outlook (+4%) for the country recorded in two years.

Note: The net employment outlook figure is derived by taking the percentage of employers anticipating total employment to increase and subtracting from this the percentage expecting to see a decrease in employment at their location in the next quarter. 



Commenting on this, Linda Teo, Country Manager of ManpowerGroup Singapore, said: "Global and regional trade conflicts, plus warnings of a possible recession, have dampened business confidence in Singapore.

"Anticipating that business will be affected by the economic downturn, companies are limiting their hiring activity. Some companies are also turning to upskilling their employees instead of hiring new staff."

Hiring outlook across Singapore's seven industry sectors (seasonally adjusted)

Overall, of the seven sectors in Singapore, employers in five sectors expect to add payrolls in Q4 2019.



Public administration & education

Employers in the public administration & education sector anticipated the strongest labour market (outlook: +19%), with hiring intentions remaining 'relatively stable' as compared to Q3 2019.

That said, there is a considerable decline of 17pp when compared y-o-y.



Mining & construction

Employers in this sector have reported an outlook of +10% in the coming quarter, with 'some hiring opportunities' anticipated. Further, this sector's outlook remains relative stable as compared to Q4 2018 and quarter-over-quarter (q-o-q).



Wholesale trade & retail trade

As reflected in the report, the wholesale trade & retail trade sector anticipates a 'fair hiring climate' the coming quarter, reporting a +8% outlook for the third quarter straight.

However, hiring intentions are considered stable when compared y-o-y.



Finance, insurance & real estate

When compared with the past two years, employers in this sector anticipate the weakest hiring pace in Q4 2019, with an outlook of +5%, a nine pp decline y-o-y.

Despite that, this outlook still remains 'relatively stable' in comparison to the previous quarter.




The service sector sees one of the lowest hiring outlooks for Q4 2019, reporting the weakest hiring plans in the past decade and an outlook of +2%.

Overall, this outlook is a 16pp drop q-o-q, and a 10pp drop y-o-y.




With an outlook of 0% for the three coming months, employers in the manufacturing sector forecast the weakest labour market in 10 years.

In line with this, hiring plans will drop by eight pp from the past quarter, and will be 12pp weaker than Q4 2018.



Transportation & utilities

Of the seven sectors, this sector reported the weakest hiring pace and even the first negative hiring pace (-5%) in the past decade.

In fact, hiring prospects are seen as considerably weaker - dropping 13pp from Q3 2019 and 12pp from Q4 2018.


Lead photo and infographics / ManpowerGroup Singapore