A positive outlook from Singapore businesses is at last being matched by real results, says the latest edition of the Regus Business Confidence Index, which is based on the opinion of over 17,000 companies from around the world. Business confidence has grown since 2010, but is now accompanied in Singapore by reports that revenues and profits are increasing in line with expectations expressed in last year’s Index. The research also reveals that departmental spending is on the rise, specifically sales and marketing costs but not those related to premises and property.
Departmental spending is predicted to rise this year, with the exception of property where companies are maintaining a strict cost control policy. Globally, 81% of companies expect to freeze or cut their property spending and in Singapore 74% of companies expect to follow suit. This matches other research studies which reveal a general trend towards lower cost working practices.
Filippo Sarti, CEO, Asia-Pacific, comments: “That Business Confidence is returning is great news as is the fact that so many Singaporean companies are reporting rising revenues and profit. As many as 70% Singapore companies polled reported increased company profits. However, it would seem that firms are only investing where there is a clear bottom line return, such as sales and marketing, whereas spending on property will continue to decline in 2011.”
Nevertheless, the overall business landscape is cautiously optimistic with regards to employment. The Singapore chapter of the Asian Development Outlook 2011 report by the Asian Development Bank, noted that last year, a total of 112,500 people were employed in Singapore with the overall unemployment rate decreasing to 2.2% for foreign workers and 3.1% for Singapore citizens and permanent residents.
Sarti adds. “We have seen remarkable changes here in Singapore since the global recession and dire economic state of just a few years ago. Due to the hard-hitting consequences of the recession, however, businesses now prefer to minimise risks by opting for more flexible and scalable work arrangements for employees.”