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2012 Labour Market

Last week, the Ministry of Trade and Industry released its official economic growth forecast for 2012 as being between 1% and 3%. This is a significant reduction from earlier average estimates of around 5%. Coupled with the possibility of an escalating European debt crisis and recent news of factory production slowdown in China, this points towards a global economic slowdown in the first two quarters of 2012. 

Challenges are expected ahead as the Singapore economy is very susceptible to the economic situation affecting the rest of the world.

However, there is some saving grace in the fact that China’s domestic market is still growing. This has contributed greatly to the decoupling of Asia away from the two big economic giants of the US and Europe. Thus, I believe that Singapore will not experience as much pain this time round as compared to the recession we faced in 2008 to 2009 – despite Europe currently experiencing some financial turmoil.

To hire or not to hire?
Given such an uncertain economic landscape, it is very natural for the business community to be cautious about their expansion and hiring plans. While there will still be opportunities in the market, companies will need to be more vigilant next year.

Hiring activity in some sectors like high-tech manufacturing and semiconductor have shown signs of slowing down as the global demand for electronic gadgets is starting to decline.

However, we still see talent acquisition activity going on in many industries such as the logistics, construction and lifestyle sectors. All in all, there will still be pockets of growth and these will help keep the Singapore economy propelling ahead.

I am a strong believer that every crisis brings opportunities. In good or bad times, companies are constantly looking out for good talent, which is the crucial component to building great companies. It is in bad times, however, that the best people are critically needed onboard to help steer the organisation through the tough times.

Always remember: it is when your competitors are not hiring that you may be able to pick up good talent who may not otherwise be available during the better times, as they would be too high in demand and probably too expensive. So if good candidates do come your way, grab them while you can.

To move or not to move?
Similarly, if you are an employee and an opportunity comes knocking on your door, you should consider it instead of shutting it out because you are opting for stability in uncertain times, and are afraid of the ‘last in, first out’ phenomena happening to you should a full-blown recession hit next year. Capable individuals will always be valued in the workplace so if you are a strong contributor who delivers sterling results, you need not worry too much.

source: HRM Asia, 29 Nov 2011