Robert Walters Reports Buoyant Jobs Market in Asia

The number of job advertisements posted in Asia continued to rise across all disciplines as a result of a more positive economic environment, both locally and globally, according to the international recruitment consultancy Robert Walters.

The firm’s
‘Asia Job Index’
tracks job advertising volumes for professional positions across the leading job boards and national newspapers in China, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia and Singapore. The latest index, covering the second quarter of 2014, reveals that the total number of job advertisements for professional positions grew by 28% from Q213 to Q214, showing an overall improvement in business confidence and demand for skilled candidates across the region.

In particular, there was a notable demand for IT as well as accounting and finance professionals, largely due to the continued entrance and expansion of shared services centres (SSCs) across Asia.

As a result, employers found it more challenging to secure talent in these areas. Job advertising volumes for production and logistics operations roles saw the most significant increase – growing by 57% year on year. The demand was primarily spurred by the consistent growth in manufacturing in most Asian markets. Advertising volumes for IT jobs were 31% higher in Q214 than they were in Q114.

Job advertising volumes in China rebounded in Q214 after the traditional decline in Q1 due to the Chinese New Year holidays. The number of job advertisements grew annually by 29% and quarterly by 15%.

The increase was largely due to the expansion of retail and luxury brands in second tier cities as well as the continued growth of SSCs across China. As a result, there was particularly strong demand in retail services, sales, IT, HR, accounting and finance sectors.

Accelerating economic recovery in the US and the UK had a positive knock-on effect on the Hong Kong job market, with advertisement volumes in Q2 increasing 6% year-on-year compared to 2013. The introduction of new compliance rules and regulations worldwide has led to more opportunities in the areas of legal and compliance as well as accounting and finance, with job advertising for these disciplines rising by 33% and 29% respectively.

As the US market continues to stabilise, the firm expects to see renewed confidence in consumer spending, which will in turn benefit export trade. This could, in turn, result in greater demand for candidates in the merchandising, purchasing and logistics sectors.

However, the market is likely to maintain a relatively cautious outlook despite these positive indicators due to some uncertainty in an evolving Chinese economy as well as conflicts in the Middle East and Ukraine.

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