SINGAPORE (March 27): While employers across Asia generally remained cautious in their hiring activates during the last quarter of 2016, there has been a particular surge in demand for professionals within the financial service and IT space, according the Asia Job Index for Q4 2016 survey by Robert Walters.

The Asia Job Index tracks job advertising volumes for professional positions across the leading job boards and national newspapers in China, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore.

In its report published today, the international recruitment consultancy says this was due to the entrance of tech start-ups in Asian countries, and the drive to strengthen technology infrastructure and boost consumer engagement.

Demand for experienced technology professionals, such as user interface designers, has therefore remained high after seeing a 10% Asia-wide growth in 4Q. Singapore was no exception.

Although the city state saw an annual 1% decline in job advertisements overall, Robert Walters highlights that IT job advertisements grew by 30% during the quarter as a result of more firms investing in technologies to boost customer engagement.

The consultancy firm also notes a relatively high demand for contract logistics professionals, especially at the junior to mid-level in the healthcare industry, as firms looked to outsource their warehouse and distribution functions to leading organisations.

Job advertisements within the accounting and finance sector, however, declined on a shift in focus among companies to restructuring, streamlining and outsourcing their accounting functions, especially within the oil and gas (O&G) industry.

“Firms, especially within the investment banking sector, decreased hiring budgets in a bid to save costs and/ or continued offshoring to cheaper cost locations. Sectors such as oil and gas and manufacturing also remained under duress due to ongoing economic uncertainty,” explains managing director Toby Fowlston, Robert Walters Southeast Asia.  

In Fowlston’s view, the rise in vacancies for IT experts within Singapore resulted from rising government investment in the local tech start-up ecosystem, where more firms have begun to shift from traditional retail to e-commerce.

“Demand for local talent also remained high, and employers invested more in attracting, hiring and retaining both locals and Singaporeans based overseas. In line with this, our Balik Kampung initiative remains more relevant than ever in connecting overseas Singaporeans with jobs back home,” he adds.  

Balik Kampung is a Robert Walters outreach program to “bring Singaporeans home” by targeting overseas Singaporeans – who may be interested in a move back home – to share market research, insights and updates on the job market in Singapore.