Global Labour Report – June 2024

This month’s Global Labour Report provides a brief look at current employment data from the following countries: Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand. MRINetwork’s talent advisory reach extends globally through a 200+ office network of executive, professional, managerial, and technical recruitment specialists.

SINGAPORE

Employment growth in Singapore is estimated to have grown in the first quarter2024 though at a slightly lower rate than the previous quarter. Gains were driven primarily by growth in resident employment as non-resident employment contracted slightly. Total employment grew by 4,900 in the first quarter of 2024, lower than the previous quarter’s expansion of 7,500 jobs.

Unemployment rates edged up slightly in March 2024 to an overall rate of 3.1 percent, remaining within the range of typical non-recessionary periods.

The increase in resident employment was mainly in growth sectors such as Financial Services and Health and Social Services, as well as Public Administration and Education. Declines in non-resident employment were mainly in Construction, Manufacturing and Information and Communications.

In December 2022, the Financial Times reported on a key driver of employment growth in the financial services industry as wealthy mainland Chinese citizens set up “family offices” in Singapore drawing thousands of financial professionals, including global investment banks, creating what the FT calls a “new hedge-fund” industry in the city-state.

Read more at Booming Chinese family offices recruit top bankers in Singapore | Financial Times.

This trend was reinforced this week in another FT article noting Bridgewater Associates founder Ray Dalio has purchased two multimillion-dollar “shophouses” in Singapore as billionaires continue to snap up properties. The FT reports family offices have “exploded in Singapore from a handful in 2018 to about 1,400 in 2023.

Read more at Bridgewater founder Ray Dalio joins billionaires snapping up Singapore ‘shophouses’ | Financial Times.

Management recruitment specialists in the MRINetwork’s Singapore office, throughout the Asia-Pacific region, and across the world bring both talent retention and search capabilities for highly qualified managers, technical, professional and executives in high-demand skilled positions which are currently driving the Singapore market.

Read more at Labour Market Advance Release First Quarter 2024 | Manpower Research and Statistics Department.

MALAYSIA

At 3.3 percent the unemployment rate in Malaysia essentially represents full employment among the nation’s 16.5 million employed workers. Additionally, the labour participation rate continues at a high rate of 70.3 percent. As in many expanding Asia-Pacific markets Malaysia sees an increasing mismatch between the skills recent graduates have and the skills many expanding businesses need.

The services sector has been a key area of growth in the vibrant Malaysian economy. During the first quarter of 2024, the nation’s economy grew 4.2 percent versus the previous year and up from 2.9 percent in the fourth quarter of 2023. During the same quarter, the services sector expanded by 6.1 percent driven by growth in wholesale and retail trade, food and beverage, and accommodation sectors.

In addition, future employment growth is expected to be driven by a strategy known as “China Plus One” as companies around the world look for backup to China to protect themselves from geopolitical disruptions. The broadening U.S. curbs on Chinese technology, especially for chipmaking, has led to dozens of companies to target Malaysia for not only “back-end” semiconductor manufacturing but increasingly to higher value “front-end” chipmaking fabrication and integrated circuit design.

MRINetwork management recruitment specialists in Malaysia and throughout the Asia-Pacific region have practice expertise in the business services sectors as well as in the fast-growing Malaysian technology industry.

THAILAND

Thailand boasts a very low unemployment rate of 1.1 percent. While the exceptionally low rate is driven by the statistical peculiarities of an economy with over 30 percent of the workforce in agriculture, the underlying labour market is not as robust as other regional economies. The workforce mix is shifting to a more services-oriented profile as the Thai economy emerges from what the Financial Times characterizes as a “10-year military-linked government that had left the country trailing in the dust of some of its Southeast Asian neighbours.”

Read more at Thailand PM Srettha Thavisin faces hard sell with $14bn stimulus handout | Financial Times.

A key component of future growth is the Thai government’s plan to stimulate the economy and drive employment growth in a stimulus package. The proposed plan includes a one-time cash handout of $13.6 billion USD via a digital wallet to millions of targeted civilians. The program faces legal hurdles and concerns about its effectiveness and as of today seems stalled. The government is currently placing more emphasis on reviving one of its largest industries, tourism, by creating special visas and incentives for extended stays, but tourism numbers haven’t fully recovered to pre-pandemic levels.

MRINetwork recruiters, both in-country, throughout the Asia-Pacific region and throughout the world have recruiting expertise to access executive, technical, professional and managerial talent who can drive growth in virtually every industry throughout the Thai economy.