This 2020, hiring is looking up in the APAC region despite continuing uncertainty from the Sino-US trade war. Surveys throughout the previous year have indicated that companies in the APAC countries are generally open to increasing their manpower, or at least plan to keep their numbers stable in 2020.
One study by Willis Towers Watson found that two-thirds of APAC organizations expect their headcount growth rate this year to be in line with 2019’s expansion, while another survey by ManpowerGroup found that hiring intentions for 2020 remain positive, although weaker than last year.
People Matters makes a few guesses at how the job market will go in various countries:
China’s hiring will stay stable
This might seem an odd forecast considering that China’s job market was hit hard by the trade war, and things are not likely to improve with the US now in political turmoil from the presidential impeachment and the upcoming election. But in China, job creation has traditionally been the mainstay of social stability, and the government isn’t likely to let that slip any time soon. Even if the hiring is mainly in low-growth areas like the services sector, it will almost certainly happen.
Finding a job in Hong Kong will not be easy
With the civil unrest showing no signs of quieting, capital flight ongoing, and dozens of businesses projected to cut back their operations or simply fold up in the next six months, Hong Kong may be one of the most difficult parts of APAC in which to find a job this year.
More jobs might be available in South Korea--but for the older generation
The economic outlook for South Korea has been downbeat for some time, and job creation is similarly low. However, the government has been putting considerable effort into creating employment specifically for elderly workers who lack the financial means to retire, and numbers from Statistics Korea suggest a trend of job creation for that demographic.
Japan and Taiwan will keep trying to attract foreign talent
The labor markets in Japan and Taiwan are under increasingly intense pressure as their populations age, with the percentage of their population aged over 65 growing every year. Both countries have been trying to draw more foreign workers for years to meet the shortfall of working adults, with limited success; they’re not likely to give up in 2020.
Indonesia will introduce more high-quality jobs
Last August, the Indonesian government released a Budget 2020 proposal that put great emphasis on developing the country’s human resources through education and training. Indonesia is one of the biggest digital economies in the region, yet many businesses lag in digitization: there will likely be a huge demand for digitally skilled workers in the near future.
There will be jobs in Malaysia--low-skilled ones
The job market in Malaysia suffers from a chronic mismatch of qualifications and job requirements, with the number of graduates far outstripping the number of high-value jobs available. Despite a Budget 2020 that plans for better employment opportunities, this structural problem isn’t likely to go away in the coming months.
The Singapore government will do most of the country’s hiring in 2020
Singapore’s export-oriented economy has been hit hard by the Sino-US trade war, and while hiring has not been flat, it hasn’t been booming either. A recent ManpowerGroup survey suggests that most of the jobs added this year will be mainly in public administration and education--two evergreen fallbacks for job-seekers in the city-state.
Less hiring in the Philippines and Thailand, but more upskilling and retention
Surveys from 2019 suggest that the hiring trend in these two countries is slowly going down in 2020, with a relatively weak economic outlook reducing companies’ hiring intentions and the voluntary turnover rate. The Bank of Thailand has also highlighted the risk of a fall in temporary employment as manufacturers cut labor hours. However, the upside is that companies are starting to focus more on retaining and training their existing staff. Recent Mercer surveys on remuneration found that more than half of Filipino companies are increasing or planning to increase their salary and benefits packages, while Thai companies are shifting towards a total rewards model.