A challenging employment outlook persists into the first three months of 2017 (Q1) as Singapore's net employment outlook stands at a modest +9%, after the data is adjusted for seasonal variation.

Of the 620 employers surveyed in the latest ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey, 15% expect to increase staffing levels while 7% anticipate a decrease, and 71% foresee no change.

Linda Teo, country manager of ManpowerGroup Singapore, commented that while hiring prospects remain relatively stable, there is a growing mismatch between jobs and skills, expected to worsen if not addressed by workers and employers.

She added: "Lower skilled workers and PMETs with out-of-date skills will face the brunt of the recession - if it happens. With the slowing economy, unemployment figures for these groups of workers are likely to rise as employers put into action cost-saving measures."

Domestic hiring sentiment by sector

Employers in six of the seven industry sectors surveyed expect to grow staffing levels during the first three months of 2017 [figure below]. The finance, insurance and real estate sector reports the strongest hiring sentiment with an outlook of +19%.

Employers in the transportation and utilities sector forecast steady hiring activity with an outlook of +11% while employers in the manufacturing sector disclose an outlook of +9%.

Elsewhere, employers in the public administration and education sector, and the services sector report outlooks of +8%. However, a decline in payroll for the wholesale trade and retail sector is foreseen as the outlook stands at -2%.

manpower group - sectors hiring intentions


Asia Pacific hiring outlook for Q1 2017

Taiwan reports the region’s most robust Q1 hiring intentions with one of every four employers expect to add to their workforce. Opportunities for job seekers in Japan remain strong, with a quarter of all employers anticipate adding to their payrolls in the first quarter of 2017.

Despite an overall slowdown in retail and tourism activity in Hong Kong, services sector employers report the first quarter’s strongest outlook, and steady hiring in the mining and construction sector.

Employers in China remain cautiously optimistic with some payroll growth estimated in all industry sectors and regions.

Meanwhile in India, the hiring pace is projected to decelerate for the fourth consecutive quarter. However, an active labour market is expected to continue, with more than one in five Indian employers intending to add to their payrolls through the next three months.

Over in Australia, efforts to emphasise non-mining sectors of the economy seem to be maintaining traction. Employers across all sectors and regions expect varying degrees of payroll gains. Employer hiring plans are also uniformly positive in New Zealand, with the most activity forecast in the transportation and utilities, and mining and construction sectors.

ManpowerGroup global net employment outlook Q1 2017

Lead photo / 123RF Infographics / ManpowerGroup Singapore