Wed, Sep 12, 2018 - Page 12 News List

Trade war puts a damper on hiring: survey

By Crystal Hsu  /  Staff reporter

Taiwanese companies are cautious about hiring activity next quarter due to the escalating trade war between the US and China, US-based human resources advisory firm ManpowerGroup Corp said yesterday.

Nonetheless, the outlook for the pace of hiring remains healthy for the October-to-December period, Manpower said, citing its quarterly survey.

Sixty-seven percent of employers plan to maintain staffing levels and 26 percent said they plan to raise head count, while 6 percent plan to reduce personnel, it said.

That placed the seasonally adjusted net employment gain at 21 percent, 2 percentage points lower from this quarter and from a year earlier, it said.

“All seven industry sectors may see an increase in staffing levels, with the sentiment being the strongest for the services sector, thanks to the fast-growing information technology service” sector, ManpowerGroup Taiwan general manager Joan Yeh (葉朝蒂) said.

An ongoing boom in mobile games and the gaming industry underpins demand for game developers, software engineers and art designers, Yeh said.

Furthermore, several international IT companies have announced plans to build regional research-and-development centers in Taiwan, and would be hiring artificial-intelligence engineers, software programmers and product designers, Yeh said.

However, the trade war and other unfavorable factors have weighed on the job outlook in four sectors, the survey found.

The manufacturing industry reported the weakest sentiment in two years, with a net employment gain of 23 percent, down 5 percentage points from this quarter and 6 percentage points from a year earlier, the survey showed.

Exports last month posted low single-digit growth, although it was the high season for tech product sales, Yeh said, adding that potential basic wage hikes added to costs.

Similarly, employers in the finance, insurance and real-estate sectors showed the weakest hiring interest in nine years at 22 percent for next quarter, the survey found.

That is 8 percentage points lower from this quarter and 4 percentage points down from a year earlier, it said.

Currency woes in some emerging markets and widening market volatility prompted financial service providers to refrain from hiring, Yeh said.

Hiring activity is relatively stronger at state-run banks, as they are in need of legal compliance and financial technology specialists, Yeh said.

The hiring pace is expected to slow by double-percentage points in the wholesale and retail sectors in the next three months, as companies are worried about wage hikes and prefer to wait on the sidelines, Yeh said.

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