Businesses across the globe are now looking to hire new staff, in one of the first signs that global economic recovery and growth is on a sustainable upward trajectory. This is the key finding of the bi-annual Regus Business Tracker survey that interviews over 10,000 businesses around the world. The fact that companies are looking to hire additional staff will be regarded as a significant indicator that the mindset of organisations has shifted towards investment in growth through human capital. Over a third of companies (36% net) surveyed said they intend to increase headcount. Business in Singapore outperformed the global average with over two fifths (46% net) of companies electing to add new staff in 2011.
The survey canvassed the opinions of over 10,000 senior business people in 78 countries asking them about their current revenue performance, their profitability, their projected future revenues and their wider expectations of national economic growth. These indicators form the basis for the report’s Business Optimism Index, which unusually reflects actual performance as well as near-term outlook. Globally, this edition of the index revealed a far more positive outlook, with a greater proportion of optimist countries than six months ago. For Singapore in particular, the global index revealed a bullish rating of 115, up 17 points on the 98 point global average.
“The intention to increase headcount is a clear indicator that businesses want to be prepared to grasp the opportunities that recovering markets may throw their way," says Mark Dixon, chief executive of workspace solutions provider Regus.
In Singapore in particular, total employment rose by 61,400 in the first semester of 2010 compared to a loss of 13,800 jobs in the same period the previous year. Redundancies have also remained close to pre-recessionary levels suggesting a rosier outlook for the Singaporean job market.
“In spite of this optimism, our research also highlights that 41% of companies are still looking to reduce their overheads, through other means than reducing staff. This reveals a global attitude of cautious optimism. As companies look to find economies in their own operations, we are likely to see more and more organisations offering flexible working practices to their existing or prospective employees in a bid to achieve a better work-life balance and run a leaner organisation,” notes Dixon.
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