MORE companies are planning to hire additional staff in this half of the year compared with the first quarter, according to a survey.

The survey report yesterday also said companies will have to adjust their employment strategies in line with the Fair Consideration Framework, which will impose stricter rules on hiring foreigners when it takes effect next month.

About 47 per cent of the 425 employers surveyed intend to increase their headcount over the next six months, up 7.8 percentage points from the first quarter.

Only 3.5 per cent said they intend to trim employee numbers.

"Growing business sentiment is having a positive effect on the recruitment market," said Mr Emmanuel White, the regional director of Hudson Singapore, the employment consultancy that conducted the survey. "Compared with a year ago, the picture is much more positive," he added.

The banking and financial services industry has the strongest hiring plans, with 56.3 per cent of employers polled intending to hire more employees in this half - up 6.3 percentage points from the first three months of the year.

The health-care and life sciences industry has the lowest hiring plans among all sectors surveyed, with 41.9 per cent of employers looking to increase headcount.

It was followed closely by the consumer sector, with 42 per cent of employers looking to hire over the next six months - down 1.2 percentage points from the first quarter.

"As major players in the sector continue to reduce redundancies to react more swiftly to the market, we expect to see continued conservative hiring sentiment in the consumer sector in the next few months," said Mr White.

"However, critical roles such as product, brand marketing and management still have good opportunities."

Although employers are still cautious about their hiring plans, the sentiment is generally more upbeat than it was during the same period last year, said Ms Linda Teo, the country manager of employment services firm ManpowerGroup Singapore. ManpowerGroup's quarterly hiring outlook survey also showed that Singapore firms expect to hire more staff in this quarter and are more upbeat than before.

The Fair Consideration Framework, which will require firms to advertise on a jobs bank before applying to hire foreigners, will make businesses reconsider their strategy in attracting talent, human resource firms said.

Companies might need more time to hire as a result of the policy, said Robert Walters Singapore associate director Joanne Chua. "Companies should ensure that an effective workforce planning strategy is in place and practise proactive hiring practices instead of reactive ones," she added.

Mr White said there is the possibility of employers making confidential or strategic hires for roles without advertising.

"We have also observed some companies hiring a 'job bank' officer in order to publish and monitor all openings they have," he added.