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Asia tech talent confident in job prospects despite signs of softening in job market

150 million new technology jobs will be created over the next five years, and 77% of jobs will require digital skills by 2030. However, businesses currently face a tech talent shortage as only a third (33%) of technology jobs worldwide are filled by workers who possess the necessary digital skills.

Photo by Avel Chuklanov from Unsplash.com

The Asia tech job market is showing early signs of softening with an 8% YoY decline in tech job ads in Q1 2023[1], but tech talent in the region remain confident in their prospects, according to SEEK, the parent company of Asia’s leading employment platforms JobStreet and JobsDB. Tech talent’s confidence level was measured based on the strength of their perceived negotiation power and high frequency of being approached with job opportunities, says a study, titled “What Tech Jobseekers Wish Employers Knew: Unlocking the Future of Recruitment“.

The report, published by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and The Network, a global alliance of recruitment websites which SEEK’s JobStreet and JobsDB are a part of, revealed that 71% of tech talent in the region feel that they have a positive negotiation power. Almost half of them (46%) are approached with job opportunities on a weekly or monthly basis, making them a highly sought-after talent category.

Peter Bithos, Chief Executive Officer, Asia, SEEK, said, “It’s no surprise that we see a decline in the year-on-year demand for tech talent as we’re now coming down from the peak of 2022’s job boom. However, it’s important to recognise that the volume of tech job ads on our platforms are still 42% higher than pre-COVID levels[2], indicating that the demand for tech talent remains strong despite the easing of tech hiring activities.”

He added, “Many traditional tech companies are now scaling back after over-hiring during the pandemic, and the cooling hiring rate may persist as businesses are faced with higher interest rates and a possible recession. Nonetheless, the need for strong tech talent won’t be going away anytime soon. To put things into perspective, in Singapore, the Ministry of Manpower reported that there was a total of 6,440 retrenchments in 2022 across all industries, but the number of tech roles available on JobStreet Singapore still exceeded 10,000 every month last year.”

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According to the World Economic Forum, it is estimated that 150 million new technology jobs will be created over the next five years, and 77% of jobs will require digital skills by 2030. However, businesses currently face a tech talent shortage as only a third (33%) of technology jobs worldwide are filled by workers who possess the necessary digital skills.

The data from SEEK’s platforms shows that the average number of applications per tech job ad in Asia has increased by over 40% YoY[3], which could indicate that tech talent affected by layoffs are actively applying for jobs, or they are optimistic about their chances of finding a better job elsewhere.

“While a shift is taking place in the tech talent market, the ball is not back in employers’ court yet,” said Bithos. “Tech talent are still in high demand, and the recent layoffs have created an opening for non-tech companies to attract top talent from a growing pool of jobseekers with tech experience, as well as an opportunity to attract them in jobs that offer more stability.” 

Understanding what tech talent want is key for companies who are looking to either attract new talent or retain existing employees. According to the “What Tech Jobseekers Wish Employers Knew: Unlocking the Future of Recruitment” report findings, tech talent’s top three motivations for changing jobs are looking for a more interesting position or higher seniority at a new job (55%), lack of opportunities for upward career progress at their current place (31%), and unsatisfied salary and benefits at their current job (26%).

Tech talent also prefer a stable job with good work-life balance, which 68% of them see as their ideal career path, giving them time for family, friends, and hobbies. Moreover, only 18% of tech talent are willing to go back full-time to the office, while 64% prefer hybrid models.

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What Employers Can Do

Providing a smooth and timely process is the number one way for an employer to stand out during recruitment, according to 65% of tech respondents, and 47% would refuse an attractive job offer if they face a negative experience.

The report provides in-depth details around key actions to consider when recruiting tech talent. For example, employers are advised to indicate a salary range, a precise and clear job description and flexible work options when creating a job ad.

During the application and selection stage, employers should offer face-to-face personal interviews with future managers and recruiters as these are valued highly by tech talent, along with having an honest and open conversation with the hiring managers.

When making an offer, employers should be open to further negotiation of bonuses or benefits. Tech talent also appreciate if they are provided sufficient time and space to consider an offer.

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For more information on the study, download it here.


[1] Comparison of Asia’s tech job ad volume, year-on-year, for periods Q1 2022 vs. Q1 2023

[2] Comparison of Asia’s tech job ad volume from Q1 2019 (pre-pandemic) vs. Q1 2023 (current period)

[3] Comparison of the average number of applicants per tech job ad in Asia, year-on-year, for periods Q1 2022 vs. Q1 2023

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