“Key manpower issues faced are rising labour costs, manpower rules and regulations, as well as attracting and retaining younger workers,” they said in their report.
Additionally, 68% of over 1,100 respondents said operating costs will also be a key challenge with 38% saying government regulations that include compliance costs, bureaucracy, and mandatory fees and levies add to the financial challenges companies may face coming into the new year.
Their report also revealed that most businesses are not embracing the government’s message on the need for an economic transformation.
Only 13% of companies said the government’s assistance outlined in Budget 2016 was enough while “only 18% indicated that the assistance with adaptation to technological change and disruption is sufficient,” they reported.
“Singapore is impacted by the current subdued external demand and global trade due to its open and outward-oriented economy,” said Ho Meng Kit, CEO of SBF.
“Domestically, high operating costs and the constraints imposed by our foreign worker policies continue to affect businesses. Businesses find operating under this persistently tepid global and domestic economy challenging,” he added.
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In a survey conducted by the Singapore Business Federation, more than 60% of businesses surveyed said manpower issues will remain a key business challenge in 2017 due to the country’s economic situation.