Prospects for graduates
Approximately 63 percent of businesses surveyed recently by 104 Job Bank have expressed their intention to hire fresh graduates this year.
The results released yesterday showed that businesses this year are offering average starting salaries of NT$33,500 (US$1,098) a month for master’s or doctoral degree holders, NT$28,833 for bachelor’s degree holders, and NT$26,202 for polytechnic graduates.
The figures reflected a 2.3 percent increase in the average starting salary for master’s degree holders compared with last year, but only a marginal rise of 0.7 percent for bachelor’s degree holders and polytechnic graduates.
The increases paled in comparison with the rise in the country’s consumer price index, which registered 1.8 percent for last year and 3.65 percent during the first four months of this year.
The survey said that the electronics and information technology sectors are offering the highest starting salaries this year are at NT$29,895; then the financial, investment consulting and insurance sectors at NT$29,559; and the medical care, environmental and health sectors at NT$28,997.
Business climate improves
The nation’s business climate improved last month as the peak export season approached and the incoming government promised to spur domestic demand, but fewer manufacturers feel optimistic about the near future, according to a survey released yesterday.
In the Taiwan Institute of Economic Research’s (TIER) monthly business climate survey, 35.6 percent of respondents from the manufacturing sector had a positive outlook for the next six months, representing a 4.3 percent drop from the figure for March.
“In the manufacturing sector, the number of respondents who held a negative view of future prospects increased by 3.8 percent to 19.4 percent in April,” said TIER president David Hong (洪德生), as producers worried that soaring international commodity prices would continue to push costs higher.
Taiwan’s service providers were more upbeat than manufacturers. The business climate index for the sector last month jumped to 121.84 points, up from March’s 118.77.
Wine fair in Taichung
A fair featuring six wineries in central Taiwan opened in Taichung City yesterday, exhibiting beverages with a wide range of flavors for participants to taste and compare.
An executive with the Chungyo Department Store (中友百貨), which organized the event, said the fair will run through June 9.
Six exhibitors — two from Nantou County and four from Taichung County — are displaying wines made of local agricultural produce such as plums, roses, rice and grapes.
Each exhibitor has either received recognition for product quality from the Council of Agriculture or has won awards at winery competitions, the executive said.
SMEs bearish on growth
Confidence over prospects for growth is slipping among Asia’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SME), a survey said yesterday.
SMEs across the region are counting on strong intra-Asian trade to help compensate for an anticipated slowdown in the US economy.
The UPS International Asian Business Monitor survey was carried out in 12 markets with 1,200 respondents.
Fifty-two percent of Asian SMEs said they believed that economic growth would persist, down 5 percentage points from the previous year, said the survey, which was published in the Straits Times.