Robert Walters Asia Job Index Q2 2010
Robert Walters, the international recruitment consultancy, today publishes its Asia Job Index for the second quarter of 2010. The Robert Walters Asia Job Index tracks advertisement volumes for professional positions across the leading job boards and national newspapers in Hong Kong, Singapore, China and Japan.
• Advertisements placed in Q2 2010 increased by 85.9% compared with Q2 2009, an exceptional leap in levels of advertising and a strong indication that employer confidence has returned
• Compared to Q2 2009, Japan and China have the largest increase in job advertisements (+88.5% and +90.2% respectively)
• Compared to Q1 2010, numbers of job advertisements have increased in all regions: Singapore is up 13.7%, Hong Kong 31.5%, Japan 34.3% and China up 36.7%
• Almost all sectors have seen an increase in the number of jobs advertised in Q2 as compared to Q1
• Job advertisements across the region were up 5.64% during the quarter, with June generally showing a marked increase on April and May
• Japan experienced the highest increase in job advertisements during Q2 (41.3%), whereas Singapore saw a slight decrease from April to June (-0.3%)
• Sectors which saw the most significant increases in job advertisements were IT and HR, specifically IT in Japan and Hong Kong (+19.5% and +10.4%) and HR in Hong Kong and Japan (+7.7% and +24.8%)
• In Singapore, there was a significant increase (30.7%) in advertisements for merchandising and purchasing roles
• China saw particularly significant growth in Operations (+26.9%) and Advertising and Marketing (+9.5%) during Q2 respectively
• Recovery is well underway and both candidate and employers’ sentiment across the region remains positive
ROBERT WALTERS ASIA JOB INDEX
The Robert Walters Asia Job Index indicates that the total number of advertisements for professional positions in Q2 2010 was up 35.8% on the previous quarter and almost 6% across the quarter, from April to June. Compared to the equivalent Q2 in 2009, overall numbers of job advertisements have increased by 85.9%. Whilst there is some doubt that the current rate of economic growth in the region can be sustained, especially in China, the general outlook for the region is nevertheless one of cautious optimism.
The picture across Asia is one of maintained growth and increased stability as economies begin to grow again and employers seek to fill roles to aid this growth and development. The picture is generally very positive, with total job advertisements in Asia increasing a remarkable 85.9% on the same period of last year and 35.8% on the previous quarter.
Moreover, encouraging advertising growth has been experienced in a range of sectors, not exclusively in financial services. Especially strong sectors have been HR, where employers have been hiring to train and develop increased numbers of new recruits; and IT, as companies increase investment in business infrastructure.
Candidates and employers are expressing much more positive attitudes and there has been an increase in counter offers and buy backs. However, question marks remain, particularly with regards to financial services, as to whether hiring and advertising activity can be sustained at current levels during the third quarter.
Mark Ellwood, Managing Director, Robert Walters Asia explains: “Confidence across Asia has been maintained in the second quarter and we have seen some significant investment in business across the board. Prior to the second quarter, most recruitment activity was to replace positions that were cut during the recession. However, we are now seeing hiring of new staff with a view to growing businesses and activity levels are reaching, and in some cases exceeding, pre-crisis recruitment levels. Visibility for the next period is limited but at this stage we see very few areas of weakness.”
Singapore has seen a 13.7% rise in job advertisements compared to the first quarter of this year, with notable increases in activity within the Accounting / Finance and IT sectors. Whilst advertising numbers have seen a small decline in both these sectors, this can be explained by the tendency for employers in this space to use confidential search and headhunting techniques rather than advertising solutions. In the case of IT, there is a noticeable change in the way roles are currently being filled – in many cases, IT is no longer being viewed as a support function but rather as an integral part of business operations. Positions are being filled at senior levels, where the role can often be a hybrid of IT specialist and business partner. There has also been an influx of Human Resources roles (+7.8%) as many companies have started hiring, implementing succession plans and commencing projects as businesses begin to grow again.
Andrea Ross Managing Director of Robert Walters Singapore, comments: “We haven’t seen dips anywhere - financial services and commerce are the strongest we have seen since pre-crisis levels. In fact, we have seen a return to 2006/07 levels in terms of the opportunities for candidates. We have also seen improvement on the corporate advisory side which is a clear sign of the market recovering, resulting in an uplift in jobs in sectors such as compliance, audit and risk management. We have also seen a rise in levels of consumer confidence and this has also affected the consumer banking business positively. We may see a slow down at the end of the third quarter as this is traditionally a time when candidates in the financial services sector are less likely to move as we approach the bonus season. However, we are positive that overall this trend of growth will continue. A noticeable increment would be on the contract opportunities that exist for both IT and non-IT functions, with contract lengths ranging from 6-12 months, as companies start to favour a more flexible workforce.”
The number of job advertisements has increased in Q2 across almost all sectors in Hong Kong, except for Retail (-2.1%). Domestic spending has, however, increased and this is likely to have a positive impact on retail sales going forward. Quarter on quarter, job advertising is 32% ahead. There have been notable increases in Property Management (+10.4%), IT (+10.6%) and Engineering (+11.4%). The property market continues to be very active, although this is expected to reduce in the next six months, taking its cue from the local stock market, which is down 17% on its November 2009 peak.
Matthew Bennett, Managing Director at Robert Walters Hong Kong, comments: “Following the inevitably quiet New Year period, we have seen a significant increase in levels of job advertisements. We feel that the market is moving in the right direction, a lot of the infrastructure roles currently being filled seek to support business and enable growth. We are aware that any deceleration of Chinese economic growth may have an impact on Hong Kong and, following initiatives by the Chinese government to reduce spending, we are anticipating a slight slowdown in advertising activity in the second half. The traditionally quieter summer holiday and half year reporting periods are also likely to have an impact.
The slow start to the year in China, following the traditional New Year celebrations in the first quarter, has been largely mitigated by very strong levels of advertising in the second quarter. Most notably Operations, IT and Advertising have seen marked increases in the levels of advertising. Again it is IT that leads the way with an increase of job advertisements of 53.5% compared to Q1 of this year. Operations has grown by almost 27%, a rise which can be accounted for by the increase in projects, investment in growth and the result of surplus cash in the economy in this quarter.
Carter Yang, Managing Director of Robert Walters China, comments: “Businesses are growing in the China market. Feedback from both financial services and commercial organisations, has been very positive and the majority of people agree that business activity levels continue to pick up. We have seen a steady rise in job advertisements from the first quarter and continuing momentum from April to June.”
It has been an extremely good quarter for Japan and there has a significant rise in job advertisement numbers during Q2, up 41.2% from April to June. There has been consistent hiring in many areas, although there have also been decreases in advertising in Property Management (-45.8%), Operations (-32.2%), Customer Service (-34.2), HR (-24.9%) and Advertising (-20.4%). HR, specifically, has been slow from an advertising perspective.
However, there have been healthy increases in advertising in Engineering (+27.1%), IT (+19.5%), Retail (+21.8%) and Administration (+26.6%). An increase in M&A activity has also had the effect of driving up recruitment and advertising activity levels.
David Swan, Managing Director of Robert Walters Japan, comments: “In Japan we saw the highest number of job advertisements since October 2008, suggesting a strong return in business confidence in Japan that has been steadily building throughout the year. We have seen particularly high demand for candidates to fill roles in accounting and finance, sales and marketing and IT and the investment banking sector has been notably active. Overall, we think that the momentum we have seen across 2010 is set to continue for the second half, and confidence levels are high.”
Robert Walters specialises in recruitment at a mid-senior executive level and is able to provide commentary on key trends across this segment of the market.
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