Global job prospects are unlikely to improve in the next three months, except for a few countries that include Singapore, according to the latest Manpower employment outlook survey.

"Singaporean employers report strong hiring prospects for the October-December time frame," the US-based recruitment firm said in a report released yesterday. A quarter of the 700 employers polled here expect to up their headcount, 4 per cent see a drop and 65 per cent anticipate no change in recruitment in the coming quarter, resulting in a net employment outlook of +21 per cent (25 per cent minus 4 per cent).

After adjusting for seasonal factors, the net employment outlook for the next three months is +20 per cent. This is 6 percentage points higher than in the current quarter and 2 percentage points more than a year ago.

Only India (+40 per cent), Taiwan (+37 per cent) and Panama (+24 per cent) - among the 42 economies and cities covered in the survey - are tipped to have stronger hiring intentions than Singapore.

"Worldwide, hiring expectations are strongest in India, Taiwan, Panama, Singapore and Brazil," the report said.

The weakest are in Italy (-17 per cent), Spain (-7 per cent) and Finland (-6 per cent).

Hiring prospects are stronger in only 14 of the 42 countries and cities compared to the previous quarter, according to the Manpower survey which is done quarterly and covers 65,000 employers. They weaken in 19 and are unchanged in nine countries and cities.

Compared to a year ago, the outlook for jobs is stronger in 16 countries, weaker in 25 and stays the same in one country and city.

"Overall, it appears that employers are carefully considering their options, and many are evidently prepared to adopt a wait-and-see attitude towards further hiring until they see clearer resolution to ongoing uncertainty in the market place," the report said.

In the Asia-Pacific region, job prospects in Australia (+3 per cent) continue to look "softer", worsening to their lowest level in more than four years.

China's employment outlook remains positive in all sectors and regions, but most hiring plans are still declining year-on-year.

The United States (+10 per cent) reported its most upbeat job forecast since the second quarter of 2008, with hiring intentions strongest in the wholesale and retail trade sector.

Employers in all seven industry sectors in Singapore expect to increase staffing levels in the next three months, with those in the finance, insurance and real estate (+36 per cent) and the public administration and education (+34 per cent) being the most optimistic.

The transportation and utilities sector (+9 per cent) is the least upbeat.

Quarter-on-quarter, the employment outlook improves in five of the seven sectors. Sharp increases of 22 and 21 percentage points are seen respectively in the finance, insurance and real estate and the public administration and education sector, but the outlook weakens in transportation and utilities.

Compared with a year ago, job prospects are better in four of the seven sectors. The most noteworthy improvement is in finance, insurance and real estate where hiring plans jumped 17 percentage points.

Transportation and utilities, however, were among three sectors that had lower employment prospects.