Employers across eight Asia Pacific countries and territories will continue to anticipate an increase in payrolls during Q3 2019.
This was according to the latest ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey which polled almost 15,000 employers across eight countries and territories in the Asia Pacific region (Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, and Taiwan).
The survey revealed that employers in Japan (+25%) and Taiwan (+22%) anticipate the strongest hiring activity during the third quarter of 2019, while the weakest hiring outlooks are reported in China (+8%), New Zealand (+12%) and Singapore (+12%).
In comparison with the prior quarter, hiring intentions strengthen in five areas (Australia, China, New Zealand, Singapore, and Taiwan) but weaken in two (Hong Kong and Japan). In India, hiring intentions remained unchanged from Q2 2019.
However, a year-on-year comparison revealed a decline in hiring prospects in five countries (China, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Taiwan), while a stronger outlook was only seen in two (Australia and New Zealand). In Singapore, hiring intentions remained unchanged year-on-year.
In Japan, the optimistic hiring climate is fueled by the mining & construction sector where employers are reporting their strongest outlook since the survey began 16 years ago in the country.
Similarly, in Taiwan, payroll gains are also partly driven by the mining & construction sector as well as the wholesale & retail trade sector both of which are seeing the strongest hiring plans in more htan three years.
Sectors with the strongest hiring sentiments in China are the finance, insurance & real estate sector, as well as the transportation & utilities sector.
Over in Hong Kong, positive payroll gains are buoyed by the strongest hiring plans for the transportation & utilities sector in 11 years.
Whereas, in Singapore, employers in the public administration & education sector anticipate the busiest labour market in the coming quarter.
Zooming in on the Singapore market, 15% of over 660 Singaporean employers surveyed intend to increase their staffing levels in Q3 2019. The bulk of employers (77%) forecast no change, while 3% anticipate a decrease in headcount.
The resulting Net Employment Outlook for the upcoming quarter is forecast to remain relatively stable at +12%, improving by one percentage point from the previous quarter, but remains unchanged in comparison to the same period last year.
Linda Teo, Country Manager of ManpowerGroup Singapore, commented: "Employers in Singapore remain cautiously optimistic about their hiring plans in the midst of continued economic headwinds. Companies are expected to continue hiring to fill gaps in their workforce, albeit at a slower pace as many employers anticipate the impact of the ongoing trade war between China and the US to spill over into the local economy."
Teo added that while forecasted labour market activity in Singapore continues to remain positive, job seekers can expect the hiring process to be longer as employers are likely to spend more time evaluating candidates before making a decision.
By industry sector, all industry sectors expect to add to payrolls in the third quarter of 2019.
- Employers in the public administration & education sector reporting the strongest hiring outlook +22% - a 5 percentage point increase from the previous quarter.
- Positive workforce gains are also anticipated in the services sector (+18%), transportation & utilities sector (+10%), and mining & construction sector (+9%)
- Elsewhere, employers report moderate hiring plans in the manufacturing sector and the wholesale & retail trade sector, with both reporting outlooks of +8%.
- Whereas, employers in the finance, insurance & real estate sector report the weakest hiring intention of +7%.
Teo observed: "The surge in hiring intentions in the public administration & education sector reflects the sector’s confidence in business prospects for the upcoming quarter. Driven by digitalisation and tighter restrictions on foreign manpower, Singaporean employers are upskilling their current workforce to address their skills gaps, thus increasing demands for training services."
By organisation size, job gains are forecast for all four organisation sizes in the next three months.
Large employers (250 or more employees) reported dynamic hiring plans with a booming outlook of +59%, while the most cautious outlook of +4% is reported by micro firms (less than 10 employees).
Medium employers (50-249 employees) anticipate solid workforce growth, reporting an outlook of +21%, while small businesses (10-49 employees) reported an outlook of +12%.
Infographics / ManpowerGroup Singapore Image / 123RF