More firms intend to hire staff this year, says survey

Office workers in the central business district.
Office workers in the central business district. PHOTO: ST FILE

More middle- and senior-management jobs will be created in the early part of this year than in the early stages of the second half of last year, according to a new survey.

It found that 41 per cent of bosses here will increase their headcount, up from 35.9 per cent in July, while 53 per cent of employers plan to maintain existing staff numbers.

Hiring intentions have risen significantly in the financial services, media, public relations and advertising, and professional services sectors, said Mr Emmanuel White, regional director at recruitment firm Hudson Singapore, which surveyed 383 employers in November.

The number of banking and financial services companies seeking to hire more staff rose from 27.6 per cent in July last year to 49.1 per cent this year.

Banks were restructuring their operations last year but have now developed strategies to grow and are hiring people to implement them, Mr White said.

Due to the subdued economy, companies are also increasingly tapping professional services firms to identify their core competencies and streamline operations, Mr White said.

Many organisations are also outsourcing marketing activities to external agencies, which is increasing employment opportunities in the advertising sector, he added.

Research out yesterday from fellow recruiting company Robert Half found that 52 per cent of firms in the banking and financial services sector plan to increase headcount in the next six months. That survey polled 275 senior hiring decision-makers.

Mr Joshua Yim, chief executive of recruitment firm Achieve Group, said slightly more firms are hiring now compared with last January.

Food and beverage companies are seeking to hire as more Singaporeans are dining out and the firms are struggling to find staff due to foreign labour restrictions, he said.

Mr Toby Fowlston, managing director at Robert Walters Southeast Asia, said that employees with experience in digitisation are highly sought-after given the growth in e-commerce and mobile applications and increased emphasis on online user experience.

Those with backgrounds in cyber security are also high in demand as companies are increasingly concerned about money laundering and financial crime.

Mr Yim said, however, luxury goods retailers here have had to reduce headcount. Anti-graft measures in China have crimped the abilities of top executives of Chinese firms and multinationals in China to spend on such items, he said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 20, 2016, with the headline 'More firms intend to hire staff this year, says survey'. Print Edition | Subscribe