Employers turn cautious about hiring in Q4: survey

Despite signs that the domestic economy is improving, many employers in Taiwan are more cautious than in the past about hiring workers in the fourth quarter, a survey released by online job bank 1111 showed Tuesday.

Citing the survey's results, the job bank said 61 percent of the polled employers said they were planning to recruit newcomers in the fourth quarter, down 4 percentage points from a year earlier.

Those who plan to hire in the October-December period expected to hire only five newcomers on average, the lowest level for the fourth quarter in six years, the survey found.

The National Development Council, the top government economic planning agency in Taiwan, reported on Sept. 29 that the domestic economy flashed a "green light," signaling stable growth, for the second consecutive month in August.

The Yuanta-Polaris Research Institute (?????????), one of Taiwan's leading economic think tanks, has raised its forecast for the country's gross domestic product (GDP) to above 1.10 percent for 2016 from an earlier estimate of a 0.90 percent rise.

Echoing Yuanta-Polaris, the Taiwan Institute of Economic Research (TIER, ???), another major think tank, now also expects that Taiwan's economy will grow at least 1 percent this year.

Yet those positive signs are not translating into more aggressive hiring campaigns for the fourth quarter, said 1111 Job Bank Vice President Daniel Lee (???).

Nearly half (46 percent) of those employers who planned to hire new employees in the current quarter said they needed no more than five newcomers, while nearly a quarter (23.60 percent) said that they would hire 6-10 people, and 11.24 percent of them were aiming for 11-15 new employees.

Only 3.37 percent of them said that they would need more than 50 new employees.

Among the employers with hiring plans, 34.8 percent of them said recruiting new people was a regular practice, 32.6 percent said they needed new people fill openings created by staff turnover, and 15.7 percent said new hires were needed to meet business growth, the survey found.

Lee said employers have grown more cautious about hiring new workers because of controversial legislation that could soon be enacted that would implement a five-day work week in Taiwan and limit the flexibility of work schedule arrangements.

A 5 percent increase in the minimum wage to NT$21,009 that is scheduled take effect on Jan. 1, 2017 has also dampened employers' willingness to hire, Lee said.

In addition, the fourth quarter is a traditional slow season in the local job market, and many employers prefer to wait for the end of the next Lunar New Year holiday, which will fall in late January 2017, before recruiting new workers.

According to the job bank, the survey was conducted during the period of Sept. 20 to Oct. 2 and collected 612 valid questionnaires. No margin of error was provided.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel