Job seekers in Singapore are seeing signed employment contracts rescinded as businesses cut back on hiring during the coronavirus pandemic-triggered recession, recruiters say.
There was a spike in cases of companies cancelling job offers in late March and early April, said Mr Rob Bryson, managing director of recruitment agency Robert Walters Singapore. Unlike the global financial crisis, when most jobs affected by the downturn were in banking, industries now taking a knock include retail and aerospace, according to Mr Nilay Khandelwal, managing director at Michael Page Singapore.
There are no hard figures to show how widespread the practice is, but the comments reflect uncertainty about business prospects as the city-state endures its worst recession on record.
A government report yesterday showed the jobless rate rose to 2.9 per cent in the second quarter, the highest since the global financial crisis. Mr Euben Paraceulles, an economist at Nomura Holdings, estimates the rate could reach 4.5 per cent in the second half of this year.
Mr Paul Hoon said he resigned from his job in early June after signing a contract to be a regional supplier quality manager with a US-based firm that designs and builds commercial fans. The day before he was due to start, the firm told him it had “ceased” the contract because of the economic blow from Covid-19.
Mr Derrick Lim also lost out on a new job. The Singaporean said he was offered a job as a customer experience manager at a car dealership at the end of February, but the human resources general manager later advised him to rejoin his previous firm. It took 14 job interviews before he found a new position, he said.
Mr Khandelwal said businesses are cancelling jobs in regional sales and talent acquisition, although “bright spots” still remain in technology, especially developer roles.
Mr Bryson said there has been a general downturn in hiring and a slowdown in the process. Businesses “will only start the hiring process if they have a clear internal mandate to do so, rather than making speculative hires”, he said.
A government report yesterday showed the jobless rate rose to this percentage in the second quarter, the highest since the global financial crisis.
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