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Outlook good for Asia's job market, says headhunter

Published on Thursday, 30 Oct 2014
Photo: Edward Wong / SCMP

The number of online adverts for white collar jobs rose 20 per cent in the third quarter, according to the latest recruitment agency report to hint at a rosy outlook for Asia's job market, even in Hong Kong.

"As both the local and global economic environment continued to improve, we saw a return in market confidence characterised by an increase in consumer spending and business expansion activities," wrote international headhunting firm Robert Walter in its Asia Job Index report, which was released yesterday.

By tracking online job advertising as a benchmark of a sector's thirst for talent, the report forecasts a pickup in hiring going into 2015, traditionally a popular time for job switching as employees often wait for their end-of-year bonus before moving company. 

Asia's logistics sector is set to experience the strongest headcount growth after a 42 per cent third-quarter year-on-year rise in job postings, according to the report. The information technology sector was second with a 38 per cent rise.

The report tracked online advertising in mainland China, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia and Singapore throughout the third quarter - data that pre-dated the start of Occupy Central and the recent market jitters about the European economy. It suggests that while local hiring conditions remain buoyant, an 11 per cent growth in online advertising means Hong Kong is underperforming rival markets.

"Hong Kong is such a confidence-based economy and the economic figures coming out of China over the past four to five months [have] not been a pretty picture," said Matthew Bennett, Robert Walters' managing director for Greater China. 

The biggest local driver remains financial services, with a high demand for accounting and internal audit staff at banks and trading houses to meet more stringent compliance and regulatory requirements.

It is the latest upbeat jobs report to be issued by recruitment companies in recent months. Nearly half (47.8 per cent) of 240 companies in the city polled in an August survey by rival recruitment firm Hudson said they planned to increase headcount in the second half of 2014 to take advantage of the city's improving economy.

Benjamin Robertson 

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