Hiring Trends in 2013

March 5, 2013

The aftermath of the European debt crisis caused the Asian economy to decelerate slightly in 2012. Nonetheless, economists and research institutes (Asian Development Outlook Update 2012—Asian Development Bank) predict moderate Asian economic growth in 2013.


Employment is an integral part of the real economy. To discover attitudes of Asia-Pacific countries toward it and to predict recruiting and employment trends in 2013, en world conducted a survey of our office chiefs in Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea, and Australia.



Office chiefs surveyed



  1. In 2013, how will the economy and employment differ from what they were in 2012?
  2. What are the bases for your answer to question 1?
  3. In what sectors do you foresee increases or decreases in demand for personnel in 2013 in comparison with 2012 levels? Please discuss the background of your predictions.
  4. What advice do you have for recruitment staffs in connection with hiring new employees in 2013?

Neal Walters, Japan




1. They will improve slightly.

2. Partly because of a change in the political administration, people in Japan are hopeful about economic and employment trends and measures. The stock market is the key to predicting the future of the economy.  New stock-market highs over the last few months lead economists to predict an upturn. At the beginning of the last fiscal year, the European economic crisis motivated some companies to freeze open positions.  But this year, the market seems to be recovering; and companies are hiring as planned.

3. With recovering demand, B2B companies, which provide Japan-based firms with products and services, will hire more employees.

At the same time, however, the negative impact of too sharp a drop in the value of the yen on importers (consumer goods, etc.), who have benefited from a strong Japanese currency, is cause for concern.

In the past few years, Japanese companies desiring to globalize have been hiring global players with English-speaking capabilities from foreign-affiliated firms. This trend is expected to intensify.

4. It is not true now, as it was after the collapse of Lehman Brothers, that all industries are short of personnel. Now that the situation has become polarized, we can no longer make correct decisions on the basis of industry and job type alone. Our consultants anticipate inquiries from companies seeking to hire the best human resources. Taking advantage of knowledge and experience accumulated both in Japan and from our broad Asia-Pacific network, we offer such companies information helpful in their search.

Paul Dupuis, Singapore




1. They will remain unchanged or improve somewhat.

2.  The 2012 job market was better than had been expected. The current situation suggests that growth in 2013 will be slower than it has been during the past three or four years of a strong economy. In those years, the nation actively promoted civil-engineering and construction projects; and many companies opened offices in Singapore in the hope of expanding into Southeast Asia (Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, etc.).

3. In Singapore, we foresee no significant growth in any specific sector. In the financial industry, demand continues to diminish. The situation in other sectors is neither good nor bad. Because of soaring labor costs, companies in neighboring countries are tending to relocate manufacturing operations to Indonesia, a conveniently located production base with labor costs lower than those in Thailand and Malaysia. Automotive, manufacturing, electronical/electronics, and textile companies are especially eager to relocate to Indonesia.

4. At 1.9%, the unemployment rate in Singapore is well below the global standard. As is the case in all Southeast Asian countries, to secure excellent personnel, recruiting managers must remember to develop in advance narratives that attract talented people and to promote their companies to candidates during job interviews. Finding globally competent candidates is difficult in Indonesia and Malaysia. Under such circumstances, hiring managers must establish not only wages, but also clear career courses and their companies’ selling points. They also require reliable recruiting partners to support their hiring processes. We invite everyone with concerns about securing excellent personal to make contact with en world.

Rob England, Hong Kong




1. They will be slightly better than in the preceding year.

2. A modicum of stability that has set in after transitions in political leadership in China, the United States, and Japan has encouraged companies to be less hesitant to proceed with strategic plans, including those for hiring. Whist the current condition cannot be described as favourable, recovery in both financial and real-estate industries are expected. We also expect increased demand in logistics, sourcing and sales related positions.

3.  When faced with a harsh business environment, some companies, especially in the financial services sector reduced head count aggressively. Since Hong Kong is the financial center of the world, companies are expected to resume strategic employment here to rebuild their businesses. In addition to its financial significance, geographically, Hong Kong is an important point of connection between China and Southeast Asia. This is one reason why the demand for logistics professionals is increasing. The current shortage of such professionals is a cause for concern and companies are likely to turn to recruiting services for help in securing them.

4.  In recent years there has been an increase in companies trying to hire people directly through such social media as LinkedIn. The kind of information provided however, merely suggests the expertise and experience of candidates and needs qualification.  en world research candidates thoroughly and meet them in person for this very reason.  en world , through it’s developed network and relationships are able to discover people who do not appear on social media or on job-seeking websites. This means we can find the A-players suited to the individual hiring company.

Simon Kim, South Korea




1.  The situation will remain the same or get slightly better.

2.  According to major local reports, the South Korean GDP is expected to grow by 2.5 – 3.5%.  Whether it decelerates will depend on such global economic factors as the fiscal cliff in the United States, prolonged European financial crisis, and a weakened yen.

3. We expect the situation to remain difficult for the engineering-construction and the financial industries, whereas demand can be expected to maintain certain levels in the automotive, oil-and-gas, chemicals, steel, and materiel industries. We expect demand to be strong in the IT and telecommunications industries. Significant growth is anticipated in smartphone-related industries, a Korean strength, especially as more countries adopt LTE (high-speed data communication). Markets related to high-resolution panels for smart TVs and tablets are one of the fields in which demand for personnel can be expected to grow.

4.  Wise companies hire A-players when the economy is relatively sluggish because at such times they can secure top-class talent for less money while delivering a positive message to both markets and candidates.

Tony Horrocks, Australia




1. The situation will be slightly better.

2. Economic indicators in Australia have remained steady. Statistics show that, led by Chinese manufacturing demand, the market for natural resources exported from Australia to China will continue growing. What impact the results of the federal election of August – September will have on the economy remains a matter of concern.

3. Some slowdown occurred in the natural-resources sector in 2012, but we expect less deceleration this year. The good influence trends in the natural-resources sector will have on the engineering job market may possibly stimulate resumption of postponed projects.  As is true in other countries, Australian society is aging. For this reason we continue expecting steady demand in the healthcare industry.

4. Nowadays, instead of waiting for a specific role to open up, strategic hiring managers hire people whenever they become available. This is necessary because the worsening shortage of talented candidates on the market is forcing employers to learn how to retain key staff members better. In addition, in their concern over post-election economic trends, top performers may become adverse to career change. The market is in constant state of flux. To secure A-players, wise companies will keep in touch with en world for the latest market trends.

Please feel free to contact en world (Email: marketing@enworld.com)  for optimum hiring strategies and the latest information on a market constantly changing under the influence of a variety of factors.