How will employment change in 2014?

February 4, 2014

Business people with the new year 2014

Latest employment trends! How will employment change in 2014?

According to the World Economic Outlook (WEO) Update by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the overall economic prospects in advanced economies will improve in 2014 and the world economy is also expected to pick up.

en world conducted a survey of its APAC offices across Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea, Australia & Vietnam and predicted the following recruitment trends for 2014.

 

Queries:

  • In 2014, how will the economy and employment differ from what they were in 2013?
  • What is the basis for your answer to question 1?
  • In what sectors do you foresee increases or decreases in demand for personnel in 2014 in comparison with 2013 levels? Please discuss the background of your predictions.
  • What advice do you have for recruiters in connection with hiring new employees in 2014?

Interviewees:

flag-16-japanNeal Walters, Executive Vice President of en world Japan
flag-16-singaporeBrian Richards, President of en world Singapore
flag-16-hong-kongRichard Liu, Business Manager of en world Hong Kong
flag-16-south-koreaSimon Kim, President of en world Korea
flag-16-australiaTony Horrocks, General Manager of Calibrate Recruitment
flag-16-vietnamNguyen Thi Van Anh, Managing Director of Navigos Search

Neal Walters, Executive Vice President of en world Japan

1. In 2014, how will the economy and employment differ from what they were in 2013?
In 2014, we will continue to see improvements in the economic situation and a steady increase in the number of jobs in Japan.

2. What is the basis for your answer to question 1?
First of all, companies are hiring significantly more people, and we feel that the job market is active and strong. Some sectors have returned to or exceeded employment levels before Lehman’s fall. This is reflected in the figures: the unemployment rate in Japan has dropped to 4% and the ratio of job offers to job seekers has exceeded 1.00. The supply and demand picture for human resources is becoming tighter. Future concerns include the possible impact of a weaker yen and the increase in the consumption tax rate in April.

3. In what sectors do you foresee increases or decreases in demand for personnel in 2014 in comparison with 2013 levels? Please discuss the background of your predictions.

Probably because of increased consumer appetite along with economic recovery since the second half of last year, more jobs are becoming available in the consumer goods sector, especially in the luxury goods category. Rather than just filling positions as in the past, more companies are creating new marketing-related positions. While the consumption tax increase to 8% in April may have a temporary impact, this trend may continue unless the domestic economy weakens after the tax hike. Like last year, there is strong demand for digital professionals, especially web marketing managers, among consumer goods and service companies.

Along with the recovery of Japanese companies, demand for capital investments is likely to increase as well. We also expect further increase in the demand for sales personnel and engineers at B-to-B companies. Foreign-affiliated financial companies have not fully recovered to pre-Lehman collapse levels, but we are anticipating an increase in job market activity in 2014 compared to 2013. With the Japanese yen having weakened significantly, many banks have repatriated certain operations that were previously offshored to Hong Kong, Singapore, or other locations in the region for cost reasons.

This is especially true for customer services roles where quality and timeliness are key. Companies continue to focus on strengthening their risk framework by upgrading and expanding teams in Compliance, Audit, and Risk Management to ensure compliance with changing laws and regulations.

We hear that companies in all industries want to increase the number of sales and marketing professionals. There seems to be soaring demand in positions which companies had been reluctant to fill for many years.

4. What advice do you have for recruiters in connection with hiring new employees in 2014?
There is increasing demand for bilingual professionals not only at foreign-affiliated companies but also at Japanese companies. Besides, the job market itself has been active, and the labor market will be even tighter this year.

In order to acquire excellent candidates in such circumstances, companies need to:

  • have a speedy hiring process; and
  • prioritize the levels of skill and experience that they want from employees they are hiring.

Candidates in a desirable age group with excellent resumes and experience are inundated with job offers. Companies are encouraged to consider flexibly compromising whenever possible on candidates’ age and the number of jobs they have had.

Brian Richards, President of en world Singapore

1. In 2014, how will the economy and employment differ from what they were in 2013?
Similar to 2013, Singapore’s economy is likely to remain steady. According to estimates by Singapore’s Ministry of Trade and Industry, Singapore’s economy was expected to grow by 3.5 – 4% in 2013. The actual statistics announced in January 2014 show there was 3.7% annual growth. Based on this, the employment situation seems to be slightly more positive than the previous year.

While growth is expected to remain steady in 2014, my view is more in line with economists who think it may soften slightly to around 3%.
http://www.focus-economics.com/en/economy/charts/Singapore/GDP

2. What is the basis for your answer to question 1?

We conducted an awareness survey of companies that are hiring personnel regarding the employment outlook for 2014. Of the companies surveyed, 50% replied that they would increase hiring in 2014, 40% replied that they would maintain the same level, and 10% said that they would do less hiring than in 2013.

Cheaper labor may shift to neighboring Southeast Asian countries, but for many multinational companies, Singapore remains a strategic location in Asia. I feel that they want to increase hiring, focusing on mid-level and senior professionals.

Singapore is a hub in Asia, and the economy is said to be sluggish in some neighboring Asian countries. In fact, the U.S., Europe, Japan, and China, among other countries, also have a significant impact on Singapore’s economy. In 2014, the economy is expected to pick up in advanced countries, so we can expect investment from these countries. As a whole, I think they will have a favorable influence on us.

3. In what sectors do you foresee increases or decreases in demand for personnel in 2014 in comparison with 2013 levels? Please discuss the background of your predictions.

The services sector will continue to grow, while manufacturing will broadly speaking remain constant.

The financial services sector appears mixed, but hiring in the regulatory and governance areas remains strong. We are also seeing continued hiring activity in the Life Sciences and Oil & Gas areas, with Supply Chain Management.

Within Life & Sciences, an example of growth would be Japan- and Europe-based pharmaceutical and medical device companies, which are increasingly hiring MRs along with sales & marketing professionals in order to expand their businesses.

In the Oil & Gas and Supply Chain Management areas we see steadily improving job opportunities in Singapore due to its favorable location as a hub in Asia, and business expansion in emerging economies in Asia.

The following link is a good reference to broadly support my claim that the SCM industry is growing in Singapore thanks to its location, infrastructure, etc.:
http://www.edb.gov.sg/content/edb/en/industries/industries/logistics-and-supply-chain-management.html

Oil & Gas remains bullish, with new investments flowing in for commercially viable projects, exploration and production. We are optimistic regarding hiring levels within the offshore marine sector, where there is much refurbishing of oil rigs and ship building to be done.
http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/more-locals-employed/973228.html?cid=FBSG

4. What advice do you have for recruiters in connection with hiring new employees in 2014?

As people in Singapore may know, the government has implemented measures to give priority to employment of domestic personnel.

However, Singapore has a limited talent pool and is still facing a severe shortage of experienced professionals.

Organizations need to explore options such as internal mobility and to refine their recruitment processes. Also, there continues to be a need for a proactive recruitment approach to attract and acquire overseas talent, especially from more “mature markets,” as Singapore continues to move up the “services value chain.”

Richard Liu, Business Manager of en world Hong Kong

Richard Liu - large1. In 2014, how will the economy and employment differ from what they were in 2013?
The situation will likely remain the same or improve sightly.

2. What is the basis for your answer to question 1?
Based on a survey conducted by a local job portal which covered 124 companies from 22 business sectors, 31% of the companies surveyed think that the 2014 employment market will be more active than in 2013, while 44% think that it will be less active. 10% expect the employment market to remain about the same as in 2013. However, local business sentiment is positive and confidence is improving thanks to the strengthening of various markets around the world, such as the United States and China.

3. In what sectors do you foresee increases or decreases in demand for personnel in 2014 in comparison with 2013 levels? Please discuss the background of your predictions.
Business sectors with the potential for growth in 2014 include medical/pharmaceutical and property development, due to Hong Kong’s aging population and the continuing strong demand for housing. On the other hand, the four traditional pillar industries in Hong Kong, financial services, trading and logistics, tourism, and professional services and other producer services, registered relatively low intent to hire in 2014.

4. What advice do you have for recruiters in connection with hiring new employees in 2014?
Statistically speaking, passive candidates account for over 60% of the workforce. At en world, our strength lies in our ability to proactively reach out to this group of candidates and ensure that recruiters are getting the best talent possible.

Simon Kim, President of en world Korea

Simon-kim---large1. In 2014, how will the economy and employment differ from what they were in 2013?
The Korean government predicts that the economy will grow by 3.9% in 2014. Compared to the 2.8% growth in 2013, Korea looks to be in better shape this year. Regarding employment trends, KEIS (Korea Employment Information Service) has predicted that there will be 400,000 more jobs than there were last year.

2. What is the basis for your answer to question 1?
This optimistic view is based on the expectation that the worldwide economy will recover in 2014, resulting in increased exports and the stabilizing of inbound raw material prices. The IMF has predicted worldwide economic growth of 3.7% and market recovery in advanced countries such as the US, Europe, and Japan. As Korea’s economy is heavily dependent on external forces, such a recovery will have a positive impact on the domestic market. Employment is expected to grow due to 3 key characteristics of the 2014 employment market: (1) an increase in employment for the elderly (50+) as the general population ages, (2) people favoring permanent positions in pursuit of long-term income stability, and (3) an increase in part time jobs as per the government’s continuing policy.

3. In what sectors do you foresee increases or decreases in demand for personnel in 2014 in comparison with 2013 levels? Please discuss the background of your predictions.

  • Mechanical: significant increase – Increased exports and domestic investment will result in increased demand for machinery.
  • Display: increase – Increased orders for OLED facilities and equipment will result in more jobs in this sector.
  • Semiconductors: increase – IT business is expected to recover in 2014.
  • Apparel: steady – Although exports are expected to increase, overseas production will also increase, resulting in the employment picture remaining unchanged.
  • Automotive: decrease – Increased household debt and decreased spending will likely result in fewer new cars being sold and, hence, low employment.
  • Electronics: increase: Tablet PCs are in very high demand but demand for premium smartphones is decreasing.
  • Steel: steady – Overall steel demand is still in recovery.

4. What advice do you have for recruiters in connection with hiring new employees in 2014?
As forecast by many employment experts, recruiters should expect many senior and elderly candidates to be looking for new opportunities after retirement. Unlike younger candidates, they bring wisdom, knowledge and work experience accumulated over many years. There are many advantages to hiring older candidates: (1) being able to secure a professional workforce at lower cost, (2) receiving government subsidies, (3) bringing employment stability to an organization, and (4) boosting the company’s social reputation.

Tony Horrocks, General Manager of Calibrate Recruitment

1.In 2014, how will the economy and employment differ from what they were in 2013?
2. What is the basis for your answer to question 1?
While 2013 was a stagnant or negative year for growth in Australia, current trends suggest a brighter out look for the country. Regardless of your political preference, the fact that we will have stability in government will give confidence to most decision makers. State and Federal governments have also committed to a number of road, rail and hospital construction projects as well.

Fiscal policy is driving the dollar down vs. major currencies, making our exports, including those in the resource sector, much more competitive. This, coupled with an increase in consumer spending over the recent holiday period, will add some confidence across the board.

While it is difficult to see massive growth in 2014, I feel confident that we have seen the last, in the short term at least, of falling confidence in the market.

3. In what sectors do you foresee increases or decreases in demand for personnel in 2014 in comparison with 2013 levels? Please discuss the background of your predictions.

I would predict some growth in resources, infrastructure, consumer and life sciences, and health related industries.

The falling dollar will buoy the resource sector, while government’s realization that the country’s infrastructure in transport, roads and health care is aging rapidly, will boost the civil engineering/construction sector.

Low interest rates have boosted consumer confidence and therefore spending. This, coupled with the low dollar, will push spending into locally manufactured products as the cost of imports rises. Also, the housing market has taken off as well, which will boost home builders and suppliers to domestic construction.

4. What advice do you have for recruiters in connection with hiring new employees in 2014?
Unemployment in Australia is still high by Australian standards and the workforce is still somewhat reluctant to move from secure roles. Recruiters and companies alike need to spend a great deal of time looking at motivation rather than just skill set. Potential employees are more and more concerned about their long term career, and it is essential that those in the recruitment industry focus on the drivers of change. Companies need to think more about their future needs, rather than just a quick fix, and they need to consider hiring true talent when it becomes available, rather than just when there is a specific need.

The companies that do this will be the ones that truly prosper in the future.

Nguyen Thi Van Anh, Managing Director of Navigos Search

Van Anh 20141.In 2014, how will the economy and employment differ from what they were in 2013?

In order to predict what is going to happen in 2014, we can review events from 2013 which will provide the foundation for the coming year. In 2013, the government took some important steps to address banking sector weaknesses. An asset-management company to acquire banks’ non-performing loans was established, and some work has been done to restructure banks. We think that this work will continue in 2014. Thanks to gradual progress on improving the health of banks, we will probably see slightly higher economic growth in 2014. Exports have benefited from the expansion of foreign-capitalized manufacturing companies producing mobile phones, electronics, and computers.

The employment market is a reflection of the economy. We think that it will be slightly busier in 2014, given the growth in the economy. Some sectors, such as manufacturing and FMCG, will continue to grow.

2. What is the basis for your answer to question 1?
My view is based on GDP forecasts for Vietnam and, as mentioned, what was done in 2013.

3. In what sectors do you foresee increases or decreases in demand for personnel in 2014 in comparison with 2013 levels? Please discuss the background of your predictions.
I personally think that demand from sectors such as manufacturing, FMCG, supply chain, and life sciences will increase in 2014. FDI from Japan is expected to grow significantly, and this area will require lots of personnel as well. The financial sector and real estate still face a lot of challenges, and therefore the demand for personnel might not increase in these areas.

4. What advice do you have for recruiters in connection with hiring new employees in 2014?
This is general advice, and not for 2014 in particular. Hiring is critical to a company’s success, and therefore needs to be handled well. Have a good of hiring process. Make sure recruitment staff are trained in interviewing techniques. Recruitment staff need to be able to get real insight into a candidate, to get “under the skin” to see whether a candidate is suited for the intended role and whether they fit the organization. Do not just rely on the stories told in CVs or during interviews. You need to justify the provided information, check references using your network and your recruiting partners. Bad hiring decisions are very costly, so everything possible needs to be done to minimize the chance of making them.