SINGAPORE - Most Singapore employers are expecting hiring activity to remain steady this year, a new report says.
Consultancy Michael Page, releasing the report yesterday, also said salary increases will remain conservative this year.
The report said 54 per cent of employers polled expect hiring activity to be constant, while 34 per cent expect either stronger or slightly stronger hiring this year.
This is "an optimistic forecast for Singapore's employment market in the coming 12 months", said the consultancy.
Professional skill shortages will be likely to persist, said 48 per cent of survey respondents, an increase of 6 per cent from last year.
While human resource consultancy Achieve Group chief executive Joshua Yim agrees, he thinks last year's skill shortages will persist.
Employers expecting staff turnover made up 53 per cent of more than 300 employers polled, a fall of 3 percentage points from last year.
Consultants The Straits Times spoke to were surprised with this finding, and said the turnover rate in Singapore would likely stay constant or increase.
Mr Ronald Lee, managing director of PrimeStaff Management Services, said the increase in demand for the "limited quantity of experienced and skilled employees available", owing to greater investments and job creation, will affect turnover.
Ms Cynthia Stuckey, managing director of Forum Asia-Pacific, said employee engagement is a major lever of retention.
But firms here "continue to seriously struggle with high turnover as a result of low engagement", she added.
Mr Jerome Bouin, PageGroup Singapore managing director, said: "Employers are generally adopting a more considered approach with tighter controls around the recruitment process to make sure professionals are the right fit for their organisation."
With effective retention strategies, he added that this approach will help to address staff turnover and the shortage of talent.
Remuneration continues to attract staff, which is why 70 per cent of firms said they plan to increase average salaries by 1 to 5 per cent this year.
Recruitment consultancy Michael Page said this is "in line with and taking into consideration inflation rates and market adjustments".
Possible higher increases of 6 to 10 per cent are also being considered by 23 per cent of employers polled.
Other strategies include flexible working arrangements, which 63 per cent polled said they would offer this year.
More than 300 firms, including multinational companies and small and medium-sized enterprises, took part in the survey.
Mr Yim said Singaporeans and permanent residents are "hot commodities", with many of them being offered more than one job. "Out of 10 candidates coming to our company, two to four may turn job offers down, as they have other offers waiting for them, as I've observed in the past six to nine months."