Asia Witnessed Cautiously Optimistic Hiring in Q3 2016

December 5, 20164:46 pm346 views

Asia witnessed cautiously optimistic hiring levels in Q3 2016, driven largely by external macroeconomic trends and returning market confidence in some locations and industries. The e-commerce and digital sectors continued to grow, with more businesses demanding professionals proficient in understanding consumer behaviour and the technical expertise to enable digital innovation.

These findings were revealed in report titled, ‘Asia Job Index for Q3 2016’ published by Robert Walters, the international recruitment consultancy. The Asia Job Index tracks job advertising volumes for professional positions across the leading job boards and national newspapers in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Malaysia and Singapore.

Toby Fowlston, Managing Director, Robert Walters Southeast Asia comments: “The slight decrease in job advertisement volumes in Singapore was reflective of a changing economy. Sectors like manufacturing, residential property and shipping have come under duress as companies undergo restructuring to cut costs.”

However, there has been positive growth in the technology and e-commerce field as businesses improve customer engagement and shore up their security practices, resulting in more job opportunities available for user experience and user interface designers, and cybersecurity professionals in particular. While HR teams might be getting leaner, companies are still recruiting for roles in talent management, leadership and development, and compensation & benefits. Hiring managers will also be focusing on recruiting more domestic and overseas returning Singaporean talent.”

Replacement-based hiring remained healthy despite limited talent pools. HR professionals, in particular, were in demand across most markets, with firms investing more in upskilling staff and change management initiatives.

There has been 15 percent increase in hiring of professionals in legal and compliance roles, with stricter regulatory and compliance laws impacting sectors outside banking and financial services industry. Compliance experts proficient in anti money-laundering (AML), corporate crime/fraud investigations and policy review are most sought after by companies.

Manufacturing and e-commerce sectors witness 11 percent increase in hiring in Q3 2016. This was clearly evident in markets of China and Taiwan.

Matthew Bennett, Managing Director – Greater China at Robert Walters said, “Demand for talent continues to rise in China’s candidate short economy, especially as more businesses enter the market. Recruitment processes are becoming increasingly sophisticated and robust, with hiring managers becoming more selective.”

“Organisations are now focusing on enhancing the quality of hires in order to be more cost-effective. Both established corporations and new companies are looking for bilingual talent who can understand the local culture while bringing an international perspective. In addition, with the economy maturing and shifting towards high value-added and consumption-led services, hiring activity increased within the e-commerce and finance space.”

The government’s plans to boost the local start-up ecosystem led to a 24% rise in recruitment activity for the IT job market. As companies continued to digitise their processes, there has been high demand for technology professionals with experience in developing the latest platforms.

As organisations moved their merchandising and purchasing functions to lower-cost locations outside Singapore, there has been a 36% dip in job opportunities for this sector. Due to cost-cutting measures, companies are focused only on replacement hiring for compliance and legal roles. However, there has been a sustained demand for professionals with financial crime experience.

As corporations across China continue to develop, demand was strong for high quality HR leaders with the ability to provide strategic support to the business, generating a 30% rise in job advertisements for such roles. Many firms also enhanced their employer value propositions, and invested in HR talent able to craft solid employee attraction and retention strategies that emphasise career development opportunities and work-life balance.


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