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Singapore – Business expansion drives recruitment growth

21 January 2014

Accounting, finance, and IT professionals will be in high demand in Singapore during the first half of 2014, as businesses expand their products, services and reach, according to the Robert Half Employment Report for the first half of 2014.

Robert Half's research is based on a survey of more than 400 corporate leaders in Singapore: 150 senior leaders from the banking and finance services sector; 150 CFOs from the commercial sector companies; and 103 Chief Information Officers (CIOs). 

The survey found confidence levels have jumped compared to last year, resulting in a push for growth that will drive employment activity for the next six months. All three sectors are significantly more confident in the economic outlook for Singapore. CFOs working in the commercial or commerce and industry sector are the most optimistic with confidence levels jumping from 78% last year to 93% this year.

  Banking & Finance Commerce &  Industry Technology
  2013 2014 2013 2014 2013 2014
Very confident 29% 37% 26% 41% 12% 18%
Somewhat confident 54% 53% 52% 51% 54% 74%
Not at all confident 17% 9% 22% 7% 34% 8%
Total confidence levels 83% 91% 78% 93% 66% 92%

For senior business leaders working in the banking or financial services sector, 43% plan to add new permanent staff, with 46% maintaining current levels.  Another 10% are freezing all new hires while only 1% intend to reduce headcount.    

Banking & Financial Services   
Expanding headcount 43%
Maintaining headcount 46%
Freezing headcount 10%
Reducing headcount 1%

Of the CFOs working in the commerce and industry sector, 45% will plan to add new permanent finance and accounting staff, while 53% will be maintaining their current headcount. Only 3% are freezing all new hires, and none forecast a reduction in headcount. 

Commerce & Industry  
Expanding headcount 45%
Maintaining headcount 53%
Freezing headcount 3%
Reducing headcount 0%

Recruitment of technology professionals will be slightly less active than for finance and accounting professionals with 35% of CIOs planning to add new permanent staff, 59% maintaining current levels, 5% freezing all new hires and 1% are looking to reduce headcount.   

Technology  
Expanding headcount 35%
Maintaining headcount 59%
Freezing headcount 5%
Reducing headcount 1%

Ms Stella Tang, Director of Robert Half Singapore said new jobs are being created as companies go for growth: "Robert Half's survey found business leaders are increasing their permanent headcount because they are brimming with confidence about their economic prospects. Last year new hires were mainly to fill jobs cut during the financial crisis.  This year the new hires are for new jobs to drive growth plans."

"Companies have the confidence to pursue growth strategies such as pushing out new products and services, as well as expanding into new markets. The hiring market for banking, finance and accounting professionals will be particularly active for the next six months.  Much of the activity will come from emerging market banks creating a base for themselves within Singapore and the region," Ms Tang added.

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