Retail in Asia

In People

Report: Asia Job Index 1Q 2012, Robert Walters

Robert Walters, one of the world’s leading specialist professional recruitment consultancies, has launched its Asia Job Index for 1Q 2012.

The Robert Walters Asia Job Index tracks advertisement volumes for professional positions across the leading job boards and national newspapers in Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Mainland China, South Korea and Japan.

Asia Job Index 1Q 2012 findings

The Robert Walters Asia Job Index reveals that the total number of job advertisements for professional positions fell by 1.4 percent from 4Q 2011 to 1Q 2012.

The decline was due predominantly to the Christmas and Calendar/Lunar New Year holidays, which impacts the volume and speed of recruitment activity.

However, when compared to 1Q 2011, overall recruitment advertising rose by 16.0 percent.

This, combined with a 36.6 percent increase in job advertisements between January and March 2012, suggests that recruitment sentiment in the region remains robust.

Singapore: Rise in advertising levels across HR, logistics and business development as companies implement talent transformation projects

Recruitment advertising in Singapore saw healthy growth in 1Q 2012 with an 11.4 percent increase quarter on quarter and a 33.7 percent rise on 1Q 2011 figures.

The HR sector saw job advertising increase 13.9 percent as companies undertake significant talent transformation projects and move towards more flexible workforces.

The financial services sector, however, continues to be a challenging market with growth confined principally to those areas subject to heightened regulation.

Business development increased by 4.6 percent as companies sought to invest in revenue generators, while Logistics recruitment advertising grew by 19.6 percent.

Hong Kong: Creative industries show strong growth

Recruitment activity in Hong Kong continued to rise in 1Q 2012, notwithstanding the typically quiet Christmas/New Year and Chinese New Year periods. 

The growth in the creative industries, particularly Art & Design and Advertising & Marketing (up 16.8 percent and 16.4 percent), together with a strong rise in administrative and secretarial job advertisements, suggests a growing confidence in the resilience of the Hong Kong economy.

There was a similar rise in the number of advertised positions within the financial services and legal sectors (14.1 percent and 11.6 percent respectively), explained by the growing number of companies who have sought to gain a foothold in the Chinese and Asian markets, and the increase in complexity of Hong Kong regulation.

Retail recruitment in 1Q 2012 showed steady growth, driven by mainland tourism into the region.

Tourism was also a prevalent driver in medical services, which saw an 11.8 percent increase on the previous quarter.

Malaysia: IT and accounting recruitment levels rose as companies continued to outsource services

In Malaysia, 1Q 2012 recruitment advertising was affected in January and February by the New Year holiday periods. Activity, however, picked up in March as headcounts for the year were finalised and bonuses were paid.

Retail advertising remained stable in 1Q 2012, reflecting the continuing demand for revenue generating staff
Product and logistics operations advertisement levels rose by 7.5 percent on 4Q 2011 as tightening supply chains in Malaysia drove recruitment for high quality talent in logistics.

Malaysia’s development of its IT and accounting/financial servicing sectors has had a significant impact on recruitment in these areas with advertising increasing by 13.6 percent and 15.8 percent respectively.

Mainland China: Medical services advertising activity grew in line with rising investment in healthcare

Chinese recruitment advertising activity in 1Q 2012 grew 14 percent year on year. Whilst January remains a traditionally quiet month for hiring, February and March both showed strong growth.

Medical services recruitment grew 7.2 percent on 4Q 2011 as a growing affluence within the country drives greater demand for, and investment in, healthcare.

China’s increasing reliance on IT was reflected in a 3.5 percent growth in this sector on the previous quarter.
However, more rigid state control over the purchase of property was a principal driver in depressing the number of property management advertisements in the period. This sector was down 11.4 percent on 4Q 2011.

Japan: Retail sector growth

In Japan, hiring levels rose in 1Q with the number of job advertisements increasing 14.8 percent quarter on quarter.
Recruitment activity in the retail sector improved significantly, driven (in part) by re-construction related spending, following the earthquake in 2011. Uncertainty surrounding Japan’s energy mix and, in particular, the extent to which the country can develop a clean energy policy has prompted an increasing demand for engineers (up 36.2 percent on 4Q 2011).

Demand for data infrastructure and smart phone engineers also fuelled recruitment activity in IT.

Recruitment is beginning to reach saturation and this is reflected in the relative decline in advertisements in the medical services sector.

The number of financial services advertisements in 1Q 2012 increased by more than 19 percent on the previous quarter. This increase is consistent with 1Q traditionally being the busiest hiring period of the year for banks in Japan.

South Korea: Rise in legal advertising

In South Korea, recruitment advertising levels in 1Q 2012 were broadly in line with numbers from 4Q 2011, registering only a 0.4 percent decline.

Whilst January is seasonally a quiet month, there was a strong growth in recruitment advertising in the following two months of the quarter with February, in particular, recording a 124.9 percent increase on 1Q 2011.
The legal sector saw an 11.3 percent rise on the previous quarter, driven by the incorporation of new legal firms in the country.

In retail, a number of foreign brands, seeking to enter the Korean market (either directly, or through local partners), has impacted positively on recruitment advertising with a 5.6 percent increase quarter on quarter. 

To read the full report, visit Asia Job Index