ACCORDING to human resource consultancy PrimeStaff’s Q2 2014 Employment Outlook Report, the jobs market is likely to continue on a positive trend and may perform even better than the first quarter (Q1).
PrimeStaff has observed a clear increase in hiring activity and foresees that hiring in the second quarter (Q2) will be more intense than in Q1, barring any major world event that could shake the current level of confidence in the business community.
As such, the unemployment rate should hold steady at 1.8 per cent or even decrease slightly. This is partly due to higher job vacancies resulting from a higher resignation rate and a higher employment creation rate of late.
As has been the trend over the past quarters, the tightening of foreign manpower intake continues to lead to a higher rate of employment of Singaporeans and permanent residents (PRs).
The sectors that will experience a lot of hiring activity in Q2 2014 are logistics and transportation, hotels and hospitality, food and beverage, health care, education, and professional services such as accounting, finance, legal, and information technology.
On the flipside, the following industries are likely to experience some restructuring: Banking, electronics and construction.
Banks, in particular, will continue to realign their operations in response to changing demand for non-core business areas and services. They may need to decide where their strengths lie and identify business areas they are not competitive in, and trim headcounts accordingly.
The construction sector, meanwhile, could experience a slowdown due to lower demand for infrastructure projects. In addition, rising rental costs and wages could also pose serious challenges to companies in the retail industry.
Recruitment and human resource trends
It is expected that the following recruitment and HR trends will continue in Q2 2014:
• Increased demand for Singaporeans and PRs: Singaporean and PR workers will be in even greater demand by employers as the inflow of foreign workers tightens further.
• Higher wages for skilled local talent: As the demand for Singaporean and PR workers intensifies, employers should prepare to pay more to attract and retain these skilled local talents.
• Leaner workforce: The increasingly tight local labour market will prompt employers to further optimise the use of talent through innovation and higher productivity. To cope with the reduced reliance on manpower, more companies will look to Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) as a possible solution.
• Scalable and competency-driven skills wanted: Employers will need to be nimble to respond to fast-changing market dynamics, so companies will value workers who are adaptive and agile. Candidates with great soft and hard skills that are scalable and more competency-driven will be in higher demand.
• Focus on employee retention: More than ever, companies will need to focus on developing and implementing effective retention strategies to hold on to their employees as the manpower crunch deepens.
Recommendations for recruiters and job seekers
In view of these market conditions, here are PrimeStaff’s professional recommendations for both recruiters and job seekers for Q2 2014:
• Make quick decisions: It is clearly still an employee’s market and strong candidates will not be available for long — so make quick, informed hiring decisions when you find suitable candidates.
• Offer a higher package: In the current employment climate, the jobs are chasing people so be prepared to raise the candidate’s current package.
For job seekers:
• Have integrity: Do not change your mind after agreeing to accept a job offer, as it may inconvenience the employer. Once you have accepted an offer, other potential candidates will have been rejected and told the vacancy is filled. Additionally, not keeping your word will damage your professional reputation.
• Don’t be too demanding: Do not take advantage of the current manpower shortage and make unreasonable demands. These may work to your disadvantage when the tide turns.
Article by Ronald Lee, managing director of PrimeStaff Management Services, a human resource consultancy based in Singapore. It provides a comprehensive suite of recruitment services across a wide range of positions, functions and industries in the Asia-Pacific region. For more information, call 6222-3310, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.primestaff.com.sg.