The Asian economy saw signs of recovery as figures across the surveyed countries and industries showed largely positive annual growth from Q1 2013, according to Robert Walters' Asia Job Index Q1 2013.
The region registered an overall increase in job volumes compared to this time last year. One of the key uptrend areas included legal, governance and compliance due to tightened regulations in financial services.
In addition, the entrance of shared services centres drove the demand for accounting and finance professionals while Asia’s rising status as a manufacturing epicenter created opportunities in the logistics, operations and supply chain spaces.
Within the first quarter, the Chinese job advertising market saw the traditional decrease (-17% from Q4 2013) due to the festive Chinese New Year holidays.
In contrast, the year-on-year uplift from 2013 was at a healthy 25% which performed beyond expectations. This suggests a conservatively positive economy. The reasons for this include the expansion of Chinese companies within China and regionally, as well as new overseas investments particularly in the pharmaceutical and medical devices industries.
"With the recent news of China registering the lowest GDP this quarter in recent years, we can expect the Chinese government to channel more efforts into economic and infrastructure development such as the railway system and public housing," said Arthur Wang Managing Director China. "These developments are likely to have a positive impact on the economy in the next two quarters."
Hong Kong remains a relatively cautious market, however there is growing confidence for businesses operating in this country. "The overall quarterly (14%) and annual (11%) growth in job advertising is a sign of more positivity in the economy which we project to continue in the next 18 months," says Matthew Bennett Managing Director Greater China.
With increased pressure on regulations and anti-money laundering laws, Hong Kong banks are likely to actively hire lawyers and compliance professionals in order to continue business operations. Other indications of positive market sentiments also stem from increased local demand and consumer spending, a gradual recovery in Hong Kong’s export trade as well as more movement in the financial services space.
The healthy 17% increase in job advertising for accounting & finance roles is a result of the new regulatory reporting status required and this demand is likely to continue through 2014.
In Malaysia, the main driver of job advertising was the prominent growth in shared service centres. This boosted demand for accounting and finance roles which were up 26% from Q1 2013.
A strong demand for lawyers and medical service professionals pushed job advertising up 48% and 71% respectively in annual growth. Meanwhile, IT positions rose 24% due to banks consolidating back office IT projects in Malaysia from India and Singapore.
Retail operations also saw a 33% increase in job advertising as a result of a few large international brands opening in Malaysia as well as expansion plans from existing labels.
Singapore is also seeing a heavy demand for risk, internal audit and compliance professionals as a result of tightened regulations in financial services.
With more Singaporean companies looking towards increasing business efficiencies, technology is earmarked for more growth which caused the rise in job advertising for IT professionals by 36%.