As the global market is anticipating a recession triggered by COVID-19 pandemic, job seekers in Singapore are beginning to see their signed employment contracts being cancelled, recruiters said to Bloomberg.
According to Rob Bryson, managing director of recruitment agency Robert Walters Singapore, there was an increase in the number of cases in late March and early April this year where companies have cancelled job offers.
During the last global financial crisis, the majority of the jobs that were affected were primarily in the banking industry, however other industries like retail and aerospace are also taking a hit now, said Nilav Khandelwal, managing director at Michael Page Singapore.
Although there are no proper figures to illustrate the extensivity of the practice, but the comments show the uncertainty about business prospects as Singapore goes through its worst recession to date.
Based on a government report published on Wednesday (29 July), the unemployment rate will most likely soar to 2.9 per cent in the second quarter of the year, which is the highest since the global financial crisis more than a decade ago.
To make it worse, Euben Paraceulles, an economist at Nomura Holdings, predicted that the rate could go up to 4.5 per cent in the second half of his year.
One of the affected job seeker, 44-year-old Paul Hoon, told Bloomberg that he resigned from his previous company in early June after signing a contract to be a regional supplier quality manager with a US-based company that designs and manufactures commercial fans. However, one day before he was expected to start his new job, the company told him that it had “ceased” the contract due to the economic blow from COVID-19.
Besides him, Derrick Lim also went through a similar situation. The Singaporean managed to secure a job as a customer experience manager at a car dealership company at the end of February. Unfortunately, the new company’s human resources general manager advised him too late to go back to his previous firm.
Mr Lim said that he had to attend another 14 job interviews before he found a new position.
Mr Khandelwal revealed that a lot of businesses are cancelling jobs in regional sales and talent acquisition, but “bright spots” are still available in technology, especially developer roles.
Additionally, Mr Bryson stated that overall there is a general downturn in hiring and a slowdown in the process.
He added that the businesses “will only start the hiring process if they have a clear internal mandate to do so, rather than making speculative hires”.
During the recent General Election, one of the two main issues concerning voters were cost of living (COL) and jobs in Singapore. This was revealed by Blackbox Research on 16 July.
Regardless of whether the voter supported the ruling party or an alternative party, the top two concerns across the board were COL and employment. 28 per cent and 25 per cent of survey respondents identified COL and jobs as their top two issues respectively.
With an unexpected pandemic wrecking havoc in the economy, many jobs have been lost and re-employment looks bleak.
Jobs and state of economy take the second and third spots at 25 per cent and 17 per cent respectively.