Despite a possible economic slowdown, 2023 remains to be a jobseekers’ market in Southeast Asia and Hong Kong, according to SEEK, the parent company of Asia’s leading online employment marketplaces JobStreet and JobsDB. This is backed by findings from a new study, titled “What Job Seekers Wish Employers Knew: Unlocking the Future of Recruitment”, released today by SEEK, the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), and The Network, a global alliance of recruitment websites which SEEK’s JobStreet and JobsDB are a part of.
The study – which surveyed 97,324 respondents in the Philippines, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand – found that 34% of the talent surveyed are actively looking for a new job. In the Philippines, 40% of the respondents said they are not actively looking for a new job but are open to good offers including higher salary and upward career progress. Meanwhile, 33% of Filipino jobseekers are actively searching and are motivated by finding a role with higher seniority or trying out a new profession.
Talent feel confident to look out for new opportunities despite fears of recession as the majority surveyed are aware of their attractiveness to employers. In fact, the study found that 74% of talent around the region are approached multiple times per year about new job opportunities — and 36% of those are approached every month. Relatively, 87% of Filipinos receive multiple job offers per year, and 29% of those are approached every month.
In addition, Filipinos are more optimistic about judging their position in the labor market—78% feel positive and confident about negotiating positions, particularly in the areas of business, finance, and sales. This figure is slightly higher than the global average of 68%.
SEEK Asia Chief Executive Officer Peter Bithos commented on the findings, “When faced with a possible recession, the balance of power in the labor market tends to shift towards employers as hiring tightens. However, we believe the situation is different this time as many organizations in Asia are still recovering from the jobs lost during the pandemic. While hiring growth may slow down during times of uncertainty, there is no doubt that it is still a jobseekers’ market right now, and so it’s important for employers to know how to attract, recruit and retain talent.”
The survey also reveals that those working in IT roles are the most coveted talent across Indonesia, Hong Kong, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Singapore, as they are frequently approached with job opportunities on a weekly and monthly basis.
“Despite the waves of layoffs by tech companies in the region and around the world, the demand for tech talent still remains based on the report’s findings. This is consistent with SEEK’s observation of a 29% YoY (2021 vs 2022) increase in job ads for tech roles in the region, based on data from our JobStreet and JobsDB platforms,” added Bithos.
Talent’s Top Priorities
Most respondents (71%) to the survey in Southeast Asia and Hong Kong said that they desire, above all, a stable job with a good work-life balance. This preference is dominant across job roles, countries, and age groups. However, the survey revealed that Filipino talent are slightly more interested in taking leadership positions and in building their own successful businesses one day.
This is in line with Filipino jobseekers’ deal breakers when looking for a new role, with 28% citing work-life balance as a deal breaker, ranking second after financial compensation (35%). They also consider retirement and insurance benefits that come along with the job offer (27%).
When it comes to the desired working conditions, Filipinos are more interested in having a hybrid setup (46%), followed by fully remote (28%). When it comes to working time, Filipino talent are in line with global results, preferring a traditional five-day workweek.
Bithos says, “These last few years have been a wake-up call to many. Today, we are knee-deep in the era of ‘The Great Reconfiguration’ as employees are reconfiguring their work and personal lives, prioritizing the latter with greater demand for work-life balance and flexibility. Meanwhile, employers are increasingly looking for different skills, with a continued focus on digital and technology skills. Employers that want to attract great talent with the skills that their businesses require must cater to these changing needs.”
Ideal Hiring Journey
The survey also debunked and proved several recruitment myths and gave insight into what Filipino jobseekers want in their recruitment journey.
For instance, a smooth and timely process is the number one way for an employer to stand out during recruitment, as mentioned by 77% of respondents. Moreover, 52% of respondents named “negative experience during recruitment” as the key reason they would refuse an otherwise attractive job offer.
Indicating a salary range (53%) is the number one feature that matters to Filipino jobseekers in a good job ad, and if included, this is the first piece of information candidates will look at.
The survey also revealed that a recommendation by a friend is the best way to raise interest when a Filipino talent is not looking for a job. But once they are interested, most people will look for further information through social media and company websites. And when it comes to applying for a job, people either apply through their personal networks or use recruitment platforms.
JobStreet Philippines Country Manager Philip Gioca emphasized that talent is in demand and jobseekers know it. “More companies have started opening a lot of opportunities and more Filipino jobseekers have built their confidence in seeking jobs and negotiating positions that really fit their needs. Candidates will have the tendency to be more selective and this is a good challenge for hirers to improve their recruitment process.”
The report also provided recommendations for employers, including how to overcome their biases to increase their talent pool, calibrate their approach to different personas, get culture fundamentals right, and more.
For more information on the reports in Asia, they can be found here for the Philippines.