Employers in Singapore have turned cautions when it comes to hiring as the economy slows in the face of global headwinds. The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) expects the labour market to soften moving forward as the slowdown in growth dampens hiring. In the Central Bank’s latest half-yearly macroeconomic review, it said for the first half of 2019, net employment remained firm at 18,900 due to hiring in the modern services and domestic-oriented clusters which have seen growth holding up and offsetting job losses in the trade-related cluster. The report said the resident unemployment rate had edged up to 3.1 per cent in the second quarter. There were also fewer job vacancies than unemployed persons for the first time since December 2017 – a significant fall that hesitant hiring intentions. MAS added that while retrenchments remained low in the second quarter at 2,320 the re-entry rate among retrenched residents fell to 60 per cent which was the lowest rate in at least four years.
Moving forward, MAS said the economic slowdown is expected to dampen hiring although unevenly across industries. The trade-related cluster – especially the electronics and precision engineering industries within manufacturing and the wholesale trade – will likely continue trimming their workforce.
Job creation in the modern services cluster however, should remain firm. MAS expects the modern services sector to remain the lynchpin of the Singapore economy, supported by digitalisation-related activities in the ICT and finance and insurance sector. Citing the credit card network services as an example, MAS said demand for payment network services remained healthy, alongside a steady expansion in e-commerce activities and the shift towards cashless payments.