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Singaporeans worried about job prospects

Despite residing in a first world country, many Singaporeans are worried about the declining economy, especially with regard to their job prospects.

Employers in Singapore seem to be taking it slow when it comes to hiring new workers, as shown by recent trends in career fairs at local universities.

In addition, a recent global survey by research firm Nielsen revealed that consumer confidence in Singapore is at a two year low with a score of 94.

According to the survey, scores below a baseline of 100 indicate pessimism. Singapore is ranked in tenth place out of fourteen in the Asia Pacific region, ahead of only New Zealand, Taiwan, Japan and Korea.

However, Singaporeans like Jacqueline Ang, a business administration student at the National University of Singapore (NUS), are more worried about their job prospects.

Said the 22-year-old, “I’m worried about the job market, not so much about the economy in the GDP-sense, because I trust that the government will make sure our economy keeps going, (I’m) more worried about the job opportunities in the banking and finance industry, with the euro zone crisis and all.”

Muhammad Zaki, a development officer, echoed her view. Said the 25-year-old, “I don’t think the economy is the main worry. It’s the job opportunities.”

He added that the decline in job prospects is exacerbated by the influx of immigrants, who compete with Singaporeans for jobs.

On the other hand, year three Nanyang Technological University (NTU) student Chia Wee Keat remains optimistic. Said the 24-year-old, “I think that even though the economy may be bad, we can still find opportunities in the market.”

To him, the current economic situation is ideal for investment.

“People are using bad times as an excuse not to find jobs, save money and invest,” he added.

Similarly, NUS student Lee Gin Min remains hopeful about the future.

“I haven’t started looking for a job yet, I’m not sure how bad the market is. As a student I don’t really fell how bad or good the economy is,” said the 24-year-old.

According to the Nielsen survey, which polled more than 28,000 consumers in 56 countries in the last two months of last year, 55 per cent of Singaporeans are concerned about their future job prospects. 

Also, 26 per cent rated the economy as their top worry, while 23 per cent cited job security as their main concern.

Job fars at NTU and NUS showed Singaporeans may have reason to worry over jobs.

The jobs available at NTU’s annual career fair on Tuesday plunged to 3,000 from 4,500 the year before.

This was despite that a record 221 employers participated in this year’s fair.

The same trend was observed in NUS career fair this year, as the average number of jobs offered per employer declined from 29.17 in 2011 to 28.97 in 2012.

Said Mr Loh Pui Wah, director of NTU Career and Attachment Office, “In view of the economic uncertainty in 2012, employers may be more cautious and therefore conservative in their hiring numbers compared to 2011.”

Chief Operating Officer of JobsCentral, Michelle Lim, agreed that more employers are “exercising caution” when it comes to hiring due to an unstable economy.

“So while hiring of fresh graduates is still an important part of talent pipeline planning, they may hire less than before,” she said.