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Title: Impediments to growth? Institutions, labour market distinctiveness and Singapore’s temporary staffing industry
Keywords: temporary staffing, Singapore, labour market, institutions, employment relations, variegated capitalism
Issue Date: 2017
Citation: YIP KAR MUN, AMANDA (2017). Impediments to growth? Institutions, labour market distinctiveness and Singapore’s temporary staffing industry. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: This paper presents a pioneer economic geographical study of Singapore’s temporary staffing industry. Drawing on secondary data and semi-structured interviews with trade association representatives and senior executives from temporary staffing agencies, it examines the structure and characteristics of Singapore’s temporary staffing industry, specifically how its distinctive institutional configuration influences the activities of staffing agencies and the industry’s overall growth prospects. While temporary staffing in Singapore has experienced steady growth since the turn of the millennium, agencies continue to face challenges in sustaining business, both a result of Singapore’s increasingly restrictive regulatory environment and the inherent nature of its labour market. As such, Singapore’s temporary staffing industry is still relatively small today, and has become increasingly oversaturated with strong competition between both transnational and domestic agencies alike. In this light, an analysis of Singapore’s case contributes to wider literatures on temporary staffing markets by providing an empirical analysis of the nature and growth dynamics of a small and emerging temporary staffing market, demonstrating that temporary staffing ‘remains strongest in a particular set of economies’ (Coe et al., 2009a: 57). More broadly, this paper illustrates that national temporary staffing markets are dynamic, underpinned by complex, place-specific institutional configurations and a distinct labour market. This, in turn, mobilises a variegated capitalism approach by demonstrating that institutional change is a process that is influenced by, and operates at various scales.
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