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Singapore businesses 'moderately optimistic' on growth amid global economic slowdown: poll

GLOBAL macro factors and talent shortage are the top external factors that will impact overall business performance for Singapore firms in the coming year, according to a survey by management consultant firm Korn Ferry.

Out of the 110 organisations surveyed in Singapore, 66 per cent said the global economic slowdown would have the biggest impact, while 54 per cent said the same for strong global competition and talent shortage.

Based on the survey, Singapore businesses are "moderately optimistic" on growth, said Korn Ferry.

Of the companies surveyed, 37 per cent expect moderate growth of between 5 and 15 per cent compared with 26 per cent in 2018.

Only 5 per cent of firms predicted growth of more than 15 per cent versus 10 per cent of companies in 2018, while 10 per cent of respondents expect a possible zero to 5 per cent decline in revenues, up from 5 per cent of firms in 2018.

Singapore companies are focusing on external growth strategies to deal with the volatile and competitive business landscape. Some 33 per cent are planning for expansion and 21 per cent are increasing competitiveness by capturing market share, said Korn Ferry.

They are also managing costs by making plans over the next two years to redesign work processes (67 per cent) and reduce business-related travel expenses (55 per cent).

Companies found that these initiatives are the most effective in managing cost over the last two years, added Korn Ferry.

Out of the 19 sectors surveyed, the global economic slowdown appears to have had a greater impact on companies in the oil and gas, transportation, and construction and materials sectors, said the US-headquartered company.

In talent management, companies are focusing on making their compensation and benefits package competitive (80 per cent), linking performance management and rewards (62 per cent), and analysing internal equity (51 per cent).

Top reasons for employee turnover include lack of career progression (52 per cent), dissatisfaction with their compensation package (37 per cent), and working relations with supervisors (30 per cent).