Hiring outlook for Q1 2019 weakens amid caution on economy: poll

Taipei, Dec. 8 (CNA) The hiring outlook in Taiwan for the first quarter of next year has weakened as employers are cautious about the economic climate in 2019, according to a survey released earlier this week by 1111 online job bank.

The survey found that 51.06 percent of enterprises in Taiwan are planning to hire new workers in the January-March period next year, a decline of about 9 percentage points from a similar poll a year ago.

The average number of new hires per company is expected to drop in the first quarter of 2019 to eight, compared with 13 this year, according to the poll, which was released Thursday.

Among those employers who plan to recruit new workers in the first quarter, 36.10 percent said it would be a routine event, while 35.06 percent said they will be relieving manpower shortages, the survey showed.

It found that 35.58 percent of those employers to intend to hire will be filling openings for sales personnel, 27.53 percent want new workers on production lines, and 16.62 percent will be employing engineering and research/development staff.

According to the survey, the information technology industry and consumer product industries are the two main sectors in which new workers will be hired in the first quarter of next year.

The job bank said employers are more downbeat about the 2019 business climate, as 30.64 percent expect their business operations to deteriorate, compared with 15 percent in a similar poll conducted last year.

The poll showed that 24.27 percent of employers expect the business climate to improve in the first quarter of next year, a drop of about 9 percentage points from last year's survey.

Henry Ho (???), vice president of the job bank, said the growth of the domestic economy is expected to slow down next year, which is why employers are more cautious.

The Taiwan Institute of Economic Research (TIER) has forecast the 2019 domestic economic growth at 2.20 percent, slightly below the 2.57 percent growth expected for 2018, citing slower global demand due to the trade tensions between the United States and China, Ho noted.

In addition, Ho said, a hike in Taiwan's minimum wages from NT$22,000 (US$711) to NT$23,100 a month and from NT$140 to NT$150 per hour, with effect from Jan. 1, 2019, is one of the factors affecting employers' willingness to hire.

The survey found that the wage hike is expected to increase companies' labor costs by 5.3 percent on average.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel