Asia Pacific Hiring Outlook for 2016: Noteworthy Facts for Employers

January 15, 20167:55 am1202 views

Employers are encountering some headwinds. For instance, China’s slowdown is evidently impacting labour market activity beyond its Asia Pacific neighbours. Depressed demand for raw materials is pushing mining and extraction sector forecasts down across the globe, including in Colombia, Peru and South Africa where sector forecasts are the least optimistic yet reported.

The recent Talent Shortage Survey reports that employers continue to be frustrated by their inability to source specific talents—including IT, engineering and many skilled trades.

On interviewing over 58,000 employers across 42 countries and territories to forecast labour market activity* in Quarter 1 2016, the first-quarter research from ManpowerGroup, employers in 39 of 42 countries and territories intend to add to their payrolls by varying degrees at the start of 2016.

However, the survey reveals few trends that signal labour market momentum is building in one direction or another. Opportunities for job seekers are expected to remain similar to those available in the final three months of 2015, and results for the January-March time frame indicate that a small majority of employers are content to either retain current staff or grow payrolls at modest levels while they await more definitive signs in the marketplace.APAC hiring outlook _body imageNearly 15,000 employers were interviewed in the Asia Pacific region. Employers in each of the eight countries and territories intend to add to their workforces over the next three months. The hiring pace is expected to strengthen in comparison to the prior quarter in four countries and territories, weaken in two and remain unchanged in two.

When compared to Q1 2015, forecasts strengthen in two, weaken in five and are unchanged in one. Employers in India and Taiwan report the strongest first-quarter hiring plans, while those in Australia and China report the weakest.

For the second consecutive quarter, employer confidence in India is stronger than in any of the other 41 countries and territories participating in the survey. More than four in 10 employers expect to add to their payrolls in the first three months of the year, and the hiring pace is expected to be vigorous in each of India’s seven industry sectors.

Taiwan’s hiring pace slows for the third consecutive quarter, and employer optimism dips to its least optimistic level since 1Q 2010. Its key manufacturing sector outlook also dips to its weakest level in six years as employers seek to align hiring plans to declining global demand in general, and weaker China demand in particular. However, overall hiring plans are solid, and Taiwan’s forecast remains one of the most optimistic across the globe.

See: 2016 Salary Increase Trends for Employees in Asia Pacific

Opportunities for job seekers in Japan are expected to remain solid, particularly in the mining & construction sector where the first-quarter forecast matches the most optimistic outlook reported since the survey was launched.

Employers in China remain cautiously optimistic and expect some first-quarter payroll growth in all industry sectors and regions. Among the six industry sectors, the most favourable hiring environment is expected in the services sector. However, a longer-term downward trend is evident with weaker job growth anticipated in each industry sector and region when compared year-over-year.

The ongoing slowdown in Australia’s mining activity is exerting a ripple effect across many sectors and regions. However, there are signs that the country’s transition to non-mining sectors of the economy is maintaining traction with positive forecasts in all sectors and regions, and steady job gains expected in the finance, insurance & real estate and the services sectors.

Outlooks are uniformly positive in New Zealand. The labour markets in the Mining & Construction and the Finance, Insurance & Real Estate sectors remain the most active, driven by ongoing residential construction boom. However, the forecast for the first three months of 2016 is considerably weaker than at this time last year as employer hiring plans decline by varying degrees in each of the industry sectors and regions.

Elsewhere, employer confidence in Hong Kong is unchanged from the prior quarter and last year at this time. In Singapore the forecast is relatively stable when compared to Q4 2015, but declines in comparison to the first three months of 2015, with weaker hiring plans reported in six of seven industry sectors.

Also read: 8 Roles Expected To See Sizable Salary Increase In 2016

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