Employment confidence plunges in S'pore

Job seekers in Singapore appear to be more pessimistic about securing a job these days, according to a study by Jobstreet.com Pte Ltd.

SINGAPORE--Job seekers in Singapore appear to be more pessimistic about securing a job these days, according to a study by Jobstreet.com Pte Ltd.

The online recruitment company cited as an indicator its JobStreet.com Employment Confidence Index (JECI), which provides a yardstick to gauge job seekers' confidence in finding employment. The index ranges from a scale of zero (very poor) to 100 (very good).

Based on an average sampling size of 500 respondents in Singapore, the study found that for August 2001, the index was at an all-time low of 35.29 points. This compares with 38.6 points in July 2001, and 52.84 points in January 2001.

The index is measured by polling the job seekers at its Web site, which has 1.4 million subscribers globally and average hits of 30 million per month.

"The confidence level of job seekers in finding reasonable employment is usually a good indicator of how well the country's economy is doing," said Mark Chang, JobStreet.com's CEO and founder. "These results of our poll in Singapore are mirrored in other countries, such as Malaysia, where the index has dipped to its lowest at 32.89 points (in August 2001). The confidence level has slumped to levels not seen since the Asian financial crisis three years ago."

The JECI for Singapore has been falling since it was at its peak at 67.17 points in January 2000. JobStreet.com attributes the slide to concerns over the slowdown of the US economy.

In addition, the proportion of respondents who felt that the chances of getting a reasonable job were dwindling has increased from 11.6 percent in January 2000 to 57.7 percent in August 2001. The barrage of announcements of mergers and retrenchments from various companies in the present downturn may have led to the gloomy outlook, said JobStreet.com.

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