A survey across key business sectors in China, Hong Kong and Singapore shows that hiring expectations are rising slightly in China and Singapore in the first quarter of 2012, while in Hong Kong they remain unchanged from the previous quarter.
Nearly 1,800 key employment decision makers were surveyed by Hudson in December 2011 from multinational organisations of all sizes in all major industry sectors.
No markets report a further decline in hiring expectations this quarter. Expectations remain unchanged in Hong Kong and show a small rise in both China and Singapore.
Expectations in China are much higher than in Hong Kong and Singapore: 66 percent of respondents across all sectors forecast headcount grow in Q1, up from Q4’s 64 percent. The proportion of respondents expecting to reduce staff numbers has risen from 1 percent to 5 percent. The IT&T sector again reports the highest expectations, with 85 percent planning to hire more staff.
At 38 percent, hiring expectations in Hong Kong are unchanged from Q4 2011. However, there has been a steep rise in the proportion of respondents planning to reduce hiring, from 8 percent to 13 percent. This suggests that the uncertainty in financial markets is having a severe impact in some sectors.
After falling for three consecutive quarters, hiring expectations in Singapore show a small increase in Q1 2012. Across all sectors, 44 percent of respondents anticipate headcount growth, compared with 42 percent in Q4 2011.
Mark Steyn, CEO for Asia Pacific says that Asia’s employment outlook represents a significant change from the falling expectations seen in recent quarters.
"In the midst of continuing economic turmoil in markets around the world, the rising expectations reported by China and Singapore are a positive sign," notes Steyn. "However, we are seeing employers in most sectors approach hiring with a degree of caution."
Steyn adds that before going ahead with new hiring plans, employers assess the likely effect of external economic and political factors and carefully review the strength of their existing talent pool.
Employers are also keenly aware of the costs of hiring. Even in current market conditions, the size of discretionary bonus payments shows no sign of shrinking and salaries for new hires continue to rise.
"These costs make it vital for employers to have rigorous processes to ensure they select the very best people for their businesses,” notes Steyn.
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