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The recruitment of skilled workers continues to be a concern for local business leaders, as 61% admit they have trouble hiring.
According to the latest Grant Thornton International Business Report, this figure puts Singapore above of the global average of 39% and slightly below Malaysia at 62%.
The report also revealed business confidence in Singapore slipped 12% quarter-on-quarter in Q1 2013, from 26% to 14%. This places Singapore 12th from the bottom among 44 economies surveyed.
The decline in confidence is partially due to bureaucracy and a lack of talent, but Ong Soo Ann, partner at Foo Kon Tan Grant Thornton LLP, said “businesses complaining about bureaucracy are nothing new”.
However, he said he is concerned about the rising the number of business leaders who feel regulations and red tapes are hindering their growth, which have hit an all time high.
“This is being compounded by the shortage of skilled workers to Singapore. It’s important to remember that a business is nothing without its workers,” he said.
Despite lower levels of confidence, business leaders in Singapore are still willing to bet on future growth, with 40% of local businesses planning to increase investment in plant and machinery in the next 12 months.
Ong said companies’ willingness to invest is indication that leaders recognise “now is the time to lay the foundations for growth”.