Posts tagged employment

Could Indonesia overtake Thailand as an auto manufacturer?

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Will Indonesia overtake Thailand as the automotive manufacturing center of Southeast Asia? Thanks to increased investment from overseas carmakers, government incentives and a growing domestic demand for vehicles, many think so.

Thailand has traditionally been the country of choice for international manufacturers. Despite its own large middle-class customer base and strong production figures (1.64 million vehicles in 2010) it faces new pressure from rising costs and a new government-set minimum $10 daily wage for workers. Companies produced a total 650,000 vehicles in Indonesia and sold 764,000, but forecasts predict both numbers could top a million by 2013.

The Jakarta Globe reports:

Indonesia is already expecting more than $1 billion in investment in the automotive sector starting this year. Nissan recently announced a $250 million expansion plan; Suzuki has announced an $800 million expansion; Chrysler a $100 million expansion; Daihatsu just carried out a $246 million expansion; and BMW a $12 million expansion. India’s Tata also expressed interest in building a production base in Indonesia.

 

Peugeot and General Motors have also announced plans to assemble vehicles in Indonesia. The government also intends to provide tax breaks for investments over Rp1 trillion (US$117 million), though no formal arrangement has been made yet.

Indonesia’s auto manufacturing base is in Bekasi and Karawang, near Jakarta and the government-set minimum wage of $8 may see Thailand-based companies chase lower costs. As always, Indonesia’s infrastructure inadequacies will be an issue and the country would need to address them before it could become a serious global export leader, an analyst said.

source & article: The Jakarta Globe

 

Singapore tightens conditions for foreign workers

Foreign white-collar workers looking for a share of Singapore’s prosperity may soon find the going a little tougher. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong used part of his National Day speech last week to promise concerned citizens that conditions for employment passes would become stricter, with higher salary and qualification requirements.

As sectors of Singapore’s economy soared in the past year, so did threats of inflation and housing prices, causing many locals to worry whether they’d be able to compete for even average-salaried office jobs to pay for it all. These concerns rattled Singapore’s ruling party, the long-serving People’s Action Party, which recorded a record low (though still relatively high) 60% share of the vote at the most recent elections.

In his speech, PM Lee cautioned Singaporeans against becoming xenophobic towards foreign workers and reminded them the country would remain open to immigration. The raised minimum monthly salaries for the three types of employment visa (Q, P1 and P2) represent a 12-14% increase and will now be: S$2,800 (US$2,318), S$4,000 (US$3,311) and S$8,000 (US$6,623) respectively.

source & article: Xinhua (via philstar.com)

Singapore’s job market heavily weighted in workers’ favor

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The current labor market is weighted so heavily in favor of employees that many Singapore employers are finding themselves bowing to their demands, according to this report. Singapore’s unemployment is at a three-year low of 1.9% with around 139 jobs for everyone 100 workers, the service sector accounting for 73% of vacancies.

Under these conditions bosses have found themselves having to deal with interviewees asking for higher pay, fewer hours, or even disappearing after accepting better offers. Contractors, temps, part-timers and older workers have stepped in to fill some gaps, with many companies unable to hire more foreign workers due to quotas. Even in sectors with less growth, such as manufacturing and construction, workers have demanded more money.

While it all seems like a paradise for employees, some economists have warned the increasing overhead costs risk inflation and higher consumer prices overall. Should Singapore’s growth slow, people may end up paying more for goods while opportunities to earn money decline.

source & article: Straits Times via The Jakarta Globe

Chamber seeks to raise Indonesian workforce standards

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The arrival of a freer Asean Economic Community in 2015 means Indonesia’s workforce will face stiffer competition from Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines. Restrictions on movement of labor across Asean members’ borders will be removed, and a 2004 survey by the Asian Productivity Association revealed Indonesia ranked a distance below those countries in both productivity rates and skills.

Indonesia’s Chamber of Commerce, Kadin, has noted the skills gap. Training programs currently available in Indonesia do not provide the standards required for international business, it says, meaning in-demand workers such as nurses were inadequately qualified for work outside their home country. The head of Kadin’s standing committee for workplace competency certification, Sumarna Abdurahman, said the organization would consult with other chambers of commerce across the region to identify the standards required. It even plans to operate its own training center and establish a new National Council for the Development of Industrial Competency Standards. Kadin will also condut further research into which sectors are most likely to require Indonesian workers, noting that demand has so far been greater in low skilled domestic and technical positions.

source & article: The Jakarta Globe

Expat packages not what they were in Singapore

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Expat professionals are returning to Singapore after the financial crisis but with a difference:  many are no longer being offered the lucrative expat packages or resettlement assistance offered in the past. As companies move to cut costs, as many as tho-thirds of foreigners working in middle management (on salaries averaging $120-150,000 per year) are now hired on conditions matching those of locals, or ‘local plus’ with a few extra perks in housing or education.

They’re also facing increased competition from locals themselves, reports the Straits Times Indonesia. Skill and education levels have increased for Singaporeans in recent years, making them often more attractive economically than their expat counterparts. The local economy has further diversified into specialist markets, increasing opportunities for already resident leaders. The article suggests, however, that it’s not just attractive packages that attract foreigners to Singapore: lifestyle, environment, safety and the city-state’s modern infrastructure are themselves drawcards.

Philippines’ outsourcing industry growing strong: World Bank

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The Philippines’ business process outsourcing (BPO) industry is healthy and growing, according to the World Bank in this story from the Philippine Daily Inquirer. Despite some recent reports that the industry had seen recent declines, the World Bank’s report showed a healthy services sector actually making up for lost tourism revenue.

US based companies have been saving around 80% on operation costs by outsourcing administrative functions to the Philippines. Low labor costs, available skills, English language ability and government promotion including tax incentives had all worked to grow the industry in recent years. New BPO firms have a tax holiday of eight years, with only minimal income tax requirements thereafter.

It’s estimated that around half a million Filipinos work in business process jobs and more than 400,000 new graduates join the total workforce every year, many of them with exactly the kind of skills foreign companies are seeking. The country may even have taken the BPO crown from India, which has enjoyed more recognition until now as the Western world’s outsourcing capital.

 

Asian jobseekers prefer Western-owned companies: survey

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About 67% of Asian jobseekers preferred to work in Western companies, with 71% of Malaysians choosing US-owned companies as ideal workplaces, according to a survey. Work environment, training and development opportunities, and perceived brand quality were the main reasons for the preference.

The Asia Connect Jobseekers’ Preference Survey, conducted jointly by Jobstreet.com and Aon Hewitt Consulting, surveyed around 14,000 jobseekers from eight Asian countries including Malaysia, Singapore, India, Thailand and the Philippines. By far the most interesting result was young Asians’ preference for Western employers over Asian owned businesses, suggesting local employers had some image building to do to attract the highest quality applicants from abroad — or home.

Among Malaysians, US owned companies were the top choice followed by UK and Australian. The top Asian company owner was Japan, with a 52% preference. The results were similar to the Asian average, with Chinese and Indian companies ranking 30% or less in preference, even achieving the same percentage in negative perception. The survey also found that most were not swayed by the nationality of local management, indicating that neither familiarity or patriotism were particularly important to Asians when selecting a career.

One anomaly was India: Indian jobseekers showed a 87% preference for Indian companies.

The survey was administered online in October 2010, with a male-female ratio of 3:2. 100% of respondents had at least a university degree, with 17% holding a Master’s degree. 57% of respondents were under 30, and 30% were aged 30-39.

sources & articles: The Edge Malaysia, Aon

Employee’s market in Malaysia: survey

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Congratulations if you happen to be a new graduate or job hunter in Malaysia this year: the growing economy has left employers struggling to fill all vacancies with quality talent, according to a new survey by global HR services firm Randstad.

There will be particular demand in the fields of IT, oil & gas, banking & finance and other services as over a quarter of responding employees say they’ll have difficulty recruiting enough talent and over a fifth plan to engage in extra headhunting activities in 2011. Even a fifth say the skill shortages are not due to economic gains, but have always existed in Malaysia.

Growth in demand for engineering talent in the energy industry and computer programming could see local companies competing with overseas recruiters for Malaysian talent, and the country’s regions could also end up competing on salary as employees felt freer to look around for jobs. Companies would also need to take extra measures against talent poaching and find ways to maintain staff loyalty.

source & article: Business Times

Accountant brain drain in Singapore?

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It’s not often we hear about a brain drain away from Singapore, but it might happen in accountancy as practitioners pursue higher salaries in the region’s other growing economies. The Robert Walters 2010 Global Salary Survey reports that a senior tax accountant in Singapore with six years’ experience earns an average of S$110,000 a year (US$85,400) — compared to S$132,000 in Hong Kong and $162,000 in Sydney. This is possibly due to the higher hourly rates charged by accounting firms in the other countries.

While no-one has reported any actual brain drain yet, the issue of comparatively lower salaries was raised at the Singapore Accountancy Convention last week. The job market for accountants is competitive and Singapore’s prestige as a regional accounting center may be affected if it begins to lose local talent and fails to attract more from overseas with international experience.

source & article: Channel NewsAsia

Singapore economy continues to add new jobs

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Singapore’s workforce grew by another 24,100 in Q3 2010, with the services sector producing most of the new jobs. The numbers show a slight decline on previous results (Q1 saw 36,500 new jobs and Q2 brought 24,900) but seasonally adjusted figures show the unemployment rate has dropped; down to 2.1% from last year’s 3.3%.

The number of manufacturing jobs fell by 400, though redundancies in manufacturing and construction in the form of retrenchments and canceled contracts went to 1,900 from 2,280 in Q2.

source & article: Straits Times

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