Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Better business seen by most in H2: survey

MOST companies here expect business to keep growing for the rest of the year despite headwinds from the world's largest economies, according to a survey by recruitment firm Ambition.

About nine out of 10 of 445 Singapore-based executives surveyed expect growth in the second half, while the others think their company will perform the same as last year. Complementing these expectations is active hiring, with 69 per cent of respondents saying they took on staff in Q2 to meet growth demands. New hires made up the bulk of recruitment as opposed to replacement headcount - a sign that companies are gearing up for further growth.

The area with the greatest hiring buzz is sales and business development, with 55.1 per cent of respondents saying they are looking to grow headcount in this area. Banking and financial services industries are growing their operations and middle-office teams, said Ambition.

Risk and compliance teams are also expanding, with 24.7 per cent of respondents expressing a wish to expand in this area. The optimistic outlook comes despite the US and European economies struggling to regain their footing and government-funded stimulus programmes winding down.

Last Friday, the US Labor Department reported that 125,000 jobs were lost in June, confirming Wall Street's fears that the world's largest economy has taken a turn for the worse. Similarly, tight budgets and lacklustre consumer spending are taking the shine off Europe's recovery.

Ambition said that while the US and Europe are still trying to regain some sense of economic balance, Asia is in growth mode.

'This remains calculated and considered, and there is still a strong focus on cost management, but investment in the region is most definitely under way,' it said.

It expects hiring to continue at the current pace this year and into 2011.

The survey of executives from 275 companies was carried out in April and May. Respondents were from 12 areas, such as accounting, sales and marketing, and human resources.

Source: Business Times, 7 Jul 2010

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