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Singapore hiring outlook improves

Singapore employers are cautiously optimistic about hiring over the next year to 18 months, and competitive salaries will be on offer to attract the best candidates.

New research by two recruitment firms – Michael Page and Hudson – showed that financial services firms would maintain current hiring activity until early 2014, after which they were likely to start increasing headcount.

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Audrey Yeo, manager at Michael Page Financial Services, said there is an increased emphasis on governance (compliance, risk and control) within the financial services sector, especially within private banking and wealth management, and thus employers were likely to increase hiring in line with the growth in this job function.

“On the other hand, banks are looking to offshore their operations teams to lower cost countries such as India, Philippines or Malaysia. So overall, hiring will remain stable as offshoring activity will offset the increased hiring in the governance function.”

Yeo said financial services employers were the most likely to implement incentives such career development and flexible working options to attract candidates.

However, offering above market rate salaries would also be a key tool to attract new employees. Some 30% of the respondents to the survey said competitive salaries would most likely be implemented as an attraction strategy.

Hudson says its latest poll of market sentiment in the Lion City revealed that hiring intentions were still steadily optimistic in Singapore, with 43.8% of employers expecting to increase headcount over the remainder of this year.

Andrew Tomich, executive general manager of Hudson Singapore said that continuing difficult global market conditions meant Singapore employers were taking a considered approach to making new hires.

“We have seen the recruitment process lengthen to ensure the right hires are being made, with increased activity in filling roles that have been held open for an extended period of time.”

Increased demand in financial services is being driven by a focus on business critical roles, such as front office sales and back office risk and compliance positions, he said.

One of the ways that employers were balancing the tough global conditions with needing extra staff was by turning to contracting.

“Contracting is a good way to counter the economic conditions and in the manufacturing industry in particular we are seeing demand for accountancy professionals,” said Tomich.

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