Press Release: Professional job opportunities across APAC region rise 40% year-on-year

March 28, 2014 6 mins read
Press Release: Professional job opportunities across APAC region rise 40% year-on-year

Professional job opportunities across the APAC region increased by 40% between January 2013 and January 2014, according to new data by global recruitment specialist Morgan McKinley.

APAC Employment Monitor Highlights:

  • Professional job vacancies rose by 40% between January 2013 and January 2014.
  • ​Quarterly figures also reveal a strong upward trend – the total number of available positions across quarters two, three and four 2013 was up 11% compared to the same period in 2012.
  • The number of professional jobseekers increased 17% from January 2013 to January 2014.
  • Comparing quarters two, three and four 2013 with the same period the year before, the number of professionals looking for work increased by 4%.

Hong Kong, Singapore and Japan lead the way in APAC professional jobs boom

Increased business optimism across APAC’s financial services hubs – led by Hong Kong, Singapore and Tokyo – has been the major contributing factor behind a 40% year-on-year rise in professional job opportunities, according to the latest APAC Employment Monitor.  The number of professional positions available across the APAC region increased from 2,767 in January 2013 to 3,870 in January 2014.

Candidates actively looking for new positions numbered 9,624 in January 2014, up from 8,212 in January 2013 – a 17% increase year-on-year – as professional job seekers felt renewed confidence in the labour market.
Richie Holliday, Chief Operations Officer, Asia Pacific commented:

The continued recovery of global economic powerhouses in the US and Europe has had a positive impact on the APAC region and the pace of its professional hiring activity, which is reflected in a hefty 40% year-on-year increase in available roles. Seasonal factors such as a combination of the Financial (calendar) new year, as well as Chinese new year should be considered when evaluating January data, but the message is clear in terms of confidence and the knock-on effect on recruitment in the region.

One of the key drivers for growth has been the rebound of the financial services market, with Hong Kong, Singapore and Tokyo leading the way, particularly in te
rms of front office roles.  Opportunities have increased not only within Sales and Trading but also within wealth management and private banking.   In China, for example, the creation of many more high-net worth individuals has fuelled a strong demand for sufficiently qualified professionals.

This month,  Credit Suisse Group AG (CSGN), which runs Asia’s third-largest private bank, announced its plans to ramp up lending to first-generation business owners – a key wealth generating market in Asia - as it seeks to increase private banking services to the wealthiest people in emerging markets.  The increase in front office roles has, in turn, had a beneficial effect on middle and back office, tax and IT-related vacancies.

The regulatory space continues to experience an upsurge in hiring activity, primarily within the larger financial services hubs of Singapore, Hong Kong and Tokyo.  Although APAC’s financial services legislation is viewed as less arduous than in the US and UK, continued regulation across the region, for example by the Monetary Authority of Singapore, is leading to an increase in risk, compliance and audit roles: not just within the big banks; but also with large corporations.

Global regulations such as Basel III and Dodd Frank have also had an impact on hiring, with a strong demand for experienced individuals who are comfortable operating in change/project environments.
Elsewhere, we’ve seen a significant uplift in general accounting positions and IT roles, across both commerce & industry and within financial services.  The fast-moving nature of the IT sector means there’s a constant demand for individuals experienced in applications, development and project management.  IT change/project management specialists are particularly sought after, as businesses seek to make substantial cost savings with sleeker and more streamlined systems.  With the right type of candidates relatively thin on the ground, these roles can take a long time to fill, and salaries are being driven up as a result.  While policies such as Singapore’s Fair Consideration Framework (FCF) are leading to a rise in local candidates employed in the sector – especially in senior roles – continued economic buoyancy is likely to lead to a more intense talent war as we progress through 2014.   In the mainland of China the increasingly tight pool of experienced and qualified, Mandarin-speaking professionals who can operate comfortably within a Multi-national or International-type environment is certainly driving up general levels of compensation.  This in turn is helping to encourage more movement from candidates, and this extra fluidity is reflected in the data.
Another important trend to note is the rise in contractors across the entire APAC region – amongst both locals and expats – as individuals seek to negotiate more flexible working conditions.  Contractors who can offer the right technical expertise, but who also have a good cultural fit, are being tempted with very competitive salaries and packages.
In terms of professionals seeking new opportunities, the year-on-year rise of 17% is a strong sign that candidates, who have perhaps been out of work, or have held on to their current job due to economic uncertainty, are increasingly proactive about finding a new role. 
Looking ahead to the rest of this year, the sentiment among hiring managers is one of cautious optimism, boosted by the on-going recovery of the financial services sector.  The job market in APAC will continue to be characterised by talent shortages, with plenty of opportunities for capable individuals as a result.  However, certain political and economic factors could cast a shadow over an otherwise positive outlook.  Only this month the APAC financial services market was rocked by the news that Chinese exports were down 18.1% year-on-year, while the full impact of tensions in Ukraine has yet to be seen – this could make employers nervous about making any imminent increases to their headcount.”

Further press information:
Emma Nguyen                                                                                                        
Tel:  +61 458 164 120                                                          
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Morgan McKinley APAC Employment Monitor
Morgan McKinley launched its APAC Employment Monitor providing monthly and quarterly data on new professional job availability and on professional job seeker availability. The figures in this press release are derived from Morgan McKinley’s own internal data from jobs released by employers and professionals registering in conjunction with market share figures and knowledge of the market.

The APAC Employment Monitor reports only on professional jobs across sectors where Morgan McKinley operates in the region including banking and financial services, accounting & finance, IT, project management, risk & compliance, sales & marketing, healthcare and technical & engineering.  

About Morgan McKinley
Morgan McKinley is a global professional services recruiter connecting specialist talent with leading employers across multiple industries and disciplines. With offices across Ireland, the UK, EMEA, Asia and Australia, Morgan McKinley is a preferred supplier to many of the major employers in its specialist sectors and thousands of smaller local firms.

Morgan McKinley APAC provides specialist recruitment services across the APAC region, including Australia, China, Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore, working with clients and candidates to deliver local knowledge as well as global reach.

Marlon Mai's picture
Marlon Mai
Managing Director, Greater China