Consultancy, sales and finance dominate APAC job prospects

Job opportunities in the APAC region experienced a rise of available mid-career positions this year. Consultancy, sales and finance industries are offering a majority of openings in the region.

Recruitment in the APAC region 2017
There is a renewed optimism for job opportunities across Asia-Pacific (APAC), according to a survey by a provider of information and services for expatriates.The APAC Job Opportunities Report 2017, assesses the continually evolving field of recruitment across the region and is based on the evaluation of over three million job opportunities from across the globe.

Technology recruitment drops in the APAC

Presenting job openings by industry, the report highlights how industries grow and shrink in relation to each other. This year the opportunities for recruitment in technology took a steep downturn across the APAC.Conducted in the second half of 2017, ExpatFinder compiled comprehensive data from nine of the premier destinations for globally mobile talents across APAC – Sydney, Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Mumbai, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and Seoul.

Mid career job opportunities over take entry level and senior management

This year has seen a significant drop in the number of job vacancies advertised for those who are just starting their careers, as well as those in the late stages of their careers.The vast majority of opportunities are now only available for middle-career professionals. These jobs account for over 90 per cent of open positions in six out of the nine cities, as countries aim to expand their workforces with already-skilled and dependable professionals. The three exceptions to this finding are found in China and India. 

Mumbai is the odd one out, with just 44.9 per cent of vacancies based searching for mid level and intermediate workers. The primary need in the Indian metropolis is for those who can fill senior and top-level positions, which account for 63.2 per cent of opportunities in the city. The city with the next-closest need for these high-level workers is Beijing, where these jobs account for only 10.6 per cent of vacancies.The demand for entry level and junior positions has shrunk drastically, with Beijing being the top hirer for these workers, where these jobs account for 7.9 per cent of opportunities. In contrast, these account for less than one per cent of vacancies in Hong Kong, Tokyo, Singapore and Seoul.

Alena Salakhova, regional director for Hudson Global recruitment service, Singapore, explained, “We think the main reason (that the number of jobs available for low and top-level talents is reducing) is the outsourcing and offshoring of roles to cheaper locations across South-East Asia.”

Sebastien Deschamps, CEO and founder of said, “This year’s survey of job opportunities across the region has once again shown that there is room for optimism for those seeking jobs across APAC.“The clearest point of difference from last year’s findings has been the reduction in the numbers of both top and bottom levels jobs across all industries.“It appears that businesses across the board are currently looking for experienced and reliable mid-career workers as opposed to entry level talent and senior management.”

Shedding light on why businesses reserve their hiring budget for middle-level talents, Mr Deschamps added, “As companies in Asia shift their business strategies to remain competitive in a new world economy, one that is emerging from one of the most severe economic downturns, they depend increasingly on middle-level leaders to push change.“For cost efficiency, we are seeing more companies relying on middle-level managers to lead the executive agenda, and interpret and execute corporate mandates. “These are also the employees making bottom-line decisions about cost, quality, and efficiency for their companies, so it is no surprise why they are in demand for driving performance in a changing world.”

Other news from around APAC:

APAC’s top five hiring Industries

  1. Consultancy & Management: consultancy & management takes the number one spot in five out of nine cities studied for talent requirement. The best destination for those seeking employment in this sector is Shanghai, where it accounts for 3 per cent of vacancies. Other cities to consider are Hong Kong, Mumbai, Tokyo and Singapore
  1. Sales & Marketing: sales & marketing is the most in-demand industry in Sydney, making up 4 per cent of vacancies in the city, where it represents a perfect opportunity for professionals in the sector. Other cities where these talents are heavily required include Hong Kong, Tokyo and Kuala Lumpur
  1. Finance: 
in an attempt to grow themselves into significant financial hubs for Asia, two cities are in the process of acquiring vast amounts of talent in the finance industry. Vacancies in the finance industry currently account for 1 per cent and 21.3 per cent of the market in Beijing and Seoul, respectively. In contrast, the sector accounts for under 5 per cent of job opportunities in Sydney and Singapore, which are already well established in the industry
  1. Communication: 
demand for the communication sector has grown vastly over the past year, bringing it up to fourth place on our list and replacing the human resources industry which plummeted to 10th place due to a sharp reduction in the number of vacancies. Those in the Communication industry should look towards Shanghai where they are most desired (5 per cent of available positions), while also considering Sydney, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Singapore
  1. Technology: 
technology has taken a significant drop in the rankings, whereas the industry was the number one source of opportunities in last years’ report. This year the demand is still present, although it accounts for less than 10 per cent of vacancies in all countries studies across APAC. Professionals in the sector should look towards Mumbai and Singapore for work, where it represents 2 per cent and 9.8 per cent of available positions, respectively 
“The striking shift this year away from the human resources, and to a lesser extent technology, this is the perfect example of how the APAC region continues to advance throughout this decade.” Remarked Mr Deschamps. “I am intrigued to see how these cities evolve over the coming years and find their respective niches in the region and beyond.“A significant need for consultancy & management professionals shows a new maturity in these economies which we haven’t seen before.”

Top five hiring industries in APAC

City Spotlights

The APAC Job Opportunities Report 2017 presents an in-depth look at nine cities significant for their economic power across the region. Highlights from these studies include:


Sydney – Australia: Middle level professionals overwhelming majority

Sales & marketing, consultancy & management, and communication account for over 17 per cent of the vacancies in Sydney.Out of all of the sectors sales & marketing jobs account for 21.4 per cent of vacancies in the city, 98.3 per cent were for middle-level professionals, with only 0.3 per cent for entry-level employees, and 1.4 per cent for top-level positions.“We are seeing high demand for experienced revenue generating staff. Business development managers, sales representatives and regional sales managers are sought to grow market share and increase revenue,” said Jane McNeill, managing director of Hays the global recruiters, in New South Wales and Western Australia. “Consultancy & management is definitely showing more job opportunities. Those who can demonstrate agility and flexibility are prized assets, as are commercially-minded technology professionals.”

Sydney recruitment statistics

Beijing – China: Financial openings dominate

Like many Asian cities Beijing is actually becoming more prominent in Asia’s financial landscape, and it shows in this years’ survey. 26.1 per cent of the job openings found were in finance, 15 per cent higher than the next industry, sales & marketing.The majority of the vacancies in finance are for middle-level workers (95.4 per cent), with top-level positions accounting for 4.1 per cent. In the Chinese capital jobs in agriculture and aviation are few and far between, with both accounting for 0.07 per cent of vacancies.
Beijing recruitment spotlight

Hong Kong: finance availability drops

Current demands are in the consultancy & management, sales & marketing, and communication sectors in Hong Kong, and in total account for 54.5 per cent of vacancies in the country.The relative number of jobs available in finance has dropped considerably since last year. Of the vacancies in the newly in-demand consultancy & management sector, just 0.7 per cent of positions are for entry and top-level staff.Dean Stallard, managing director of Hays, Hong Kong, said, “The pace of change in Hong Kong’s financial services sector is increasing and along with the emergence of new business models such as Hong Kong banks and other financial institutions entering into partnerships with FinTech businesses, this is putting an enormous strain on the pool of available talent.“Hong Kong remains one of the globe’s great banking capitals with some 70 of the world’s top 100 banks represented in the territory, but the industry is feeling the pressure to retain that position in the face of change on multiple fronts.”

Hong Kong recruitment statistics

 – India: leadership and mid management in demand

There has been a significant increase in the number of vacancies in the consultancy & management sector in Mumbai in the past year, increasing from 5.5 per cent to 21.1 per cent of available positions.Sales & marketing and communications professionals are in high-demand, accounting for 16.9 per cent and 14.4 per cent of vacancies, respectively.Suresh Raina, managing partner at Hunt Partners, Mumbai, remarked, “Professional services as a whole are growing at a fast pace.“Strategy consulting firms, especially transformation and turnaround, are also witnessing a lot of activity with hires at both senior leadership and mid management levels. The other leadership functions that have seen plenty of action have been finance and digital.“I believe the roles that will be in [most] demand over the next 12 months could be for strategy and finance.”

Mumbai recruitment statistics

: consultancy and management replaces HR

Last year, human resources professionals were the most in-demand in Singapore; this year the number of vacancies for these workers crashed from 14 per cent to 2.8 per cent.The demand for consultancy & management staff has grown from 10.3 per cent to 22.1 per cent, meaning that this is now the industry with the most vacancies in Singapore.Of job opportunities in this field 99.9 per cent are for middle-level professionals.”We see a trend of more start-ups entering the Singapore market and they start their operations from sales people first. The biggest focus within sales roles is hunters and active sales, rather than business development or key account management.FinTech and InsurTech are the only two sectors where clients are open to considering C-level candidates from established companies, to bring their knowledge of business structure and strategy,” said Alena Salakhova, regional director for Hudson, Singapore.
Singapore recruitment statistics
Find out information of more APAC cities on the Expat Finder website.For related news and features, visit our Talent Management section. Look out for the launch of 2018's Relocate Awards, entries open in January. Relocate’s new Global Mobility Toolkit provides free information, practical advice and support for HR, global mobility managers and global teams operating overseas.Global Mobility Toolkit download factsheets resource centreAccess hundreds of global services and suppliers in our Online DirectoryClick to get to the Relocate Global Online Directory  

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