Singapore logged an annualised 3% decline in hiring for the sector on February this year. Neighbouring Malaysia also saw a comparable 8% drop. The Philippines fared better, with a 9% increase.
“The slow hiring of HR & Admin workers in the region could likely be due to an immediate shortage of available and qualified professionals with deep sector knowledge, who are capable of getting businesses up to speed with today’s industry demands,” said Sanjay Modi, managing director of Monster.com (APAC & Middle East).
“Some businesses are likely also doing away with robust teams, turning to cost-effective means such as outsourcing the work, and tapping into the contingent workforce in the short term.”
Separate research from the ManpowerGroup revealed that roughly 8 in 10 (81%) employers in Singapore are not expecting to increase staffing levels during the second quarter this year.
Some 13% of employers forecast an increase in staffing levels, while 5% anticipate a decrease, according to the firm’s survey of over 700 employers.
“Hiring sentiment is moderate, as the market remains clouded in uncertainty with the election of [Donald] Trump as US President and the US’ withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP),” said Linda Teo
, ManpowerGroup Singapore
“In general, companies will definitely still need to hire but many of them lack the budget for permanent headcounts, and are thus using agency contracting as a workaround,” she added.
APAC companies struggling to attract top talent
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Hiring for HR and administrative positions in Singapore has “remained slow” over the last few quarters, according to figures from the Monster Employment Index, a gauge of online job posting activities compiled monthly by job portal Monster.com.