Business expansion will drive employment growth for finance and technology professionals

20 January 2014

Robert Half hiring forecast for Singapore predicts new jobs will be created as confidence spurs expansion

Accounting, finance and IT professionals will be in hot demand 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, released by specialist recruitment firm Robert Half, confidence in the Singapore economy has increased, setting the platform for a period of expansion in 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).

Confidence levels jump

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 groups 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 per cent last year to 93 per cent this year.

Table 1: How confident are you in Singapore's growth prospects?

 

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%

 

Expansion will drive hiring activity

As a result of their optimism, the next six months will see a boost in hiring activity as companies scout for new talent to fuel their expansion plans.

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

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

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

Table 2: Hiring forecast for Singapore for the first half of 2014

Banking & Financial Services  

 

Expanding headcount

43%

Maintaining headcount

46%

Freezing headcount

10%

Reducing headcount 

1%

 

Commerce & Industry

 

Expanding headcount

45%

Maintaining headcount

53%

Freezing headcount

3%

Reducing headcount

0%

 

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 said.

To view the Robert Half Employment Report, click here

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