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Historic I.T. recruitment reversal

By Ross O. Storey | Jan. 20, 2010
Asia’s I.T. recruitment and employment market appears to be leading the world with a dramatic recovery in the past six months, to the extent that there may even be a return to a shortage of candidates for senior positions.

According to recruitment and human resource outsourcing specialists Robert Walters, the Asia Pacific is currently experiencing what is likely to be the fastest turnaround in the IT recruitment market in history.

This is particularly evident in markets such as Hong Kong and Singapore, where job opportunities available through Robert Walters in IT have more than doubled in the last six months.

Roger Olofsson, associate director, IT&T permanent and contract divisions with Robert Walters, says that, if the global economic recovery is sustainable, this bode well for the IT job market going in to 2010. He believes the need for senior IT executives to be based in the Asia Pacific could soon be “greater than ever before”.

“The Asia Pacific is in many aspects taking a leading role in the global recovery,” says Olofsson. “Key players in many industries including financial services, IT, packaged consumer goods (PCG) now firmly believe the Asia Pacific has reached enough of a critical mass of mature markets to represent significant growth opportunities in the near future.

“Most companies would single out this region as one of the most important theatres in which to compete successfully, to reach a global leadership position in the future.”

Olofsson says that the IT industry, specifically, will be able to capitalise on the market growth in general and the pent-up demand as a result of delayed IT investments over the last 18 months.

“Specifically, we are seeing more focus and interest from organisations in the areas of ERP, data warehousing, business intelligence, risk management, security, cloud computing and information management,” he says.

A sluggish 2009

Robert Walters believes 2009 could be characterised as ‘sluggish’, to say the least, with job losses at the senior end in most markets, Japan and Hong Kong being hit the hardest, followed by Singapore. However, the situation has been nowhere as severe as in the aftermath of the dotcom burst and global slowdown in year 2000.

“Interestingly, Malaysia has experienced less of a downturn than most other more developed markets in Asia,” says Olofsson, “one of the reasons being government initiatives attracting investments in the IT sector related to the multimedia super corridor, particularly in the infrastructure and data centre space.”

He says it might be hard to imagine, given the global economic crisis which appears to be tailing off, that the IT industry might find itself, faster than we thought, back in a ‘war for talent’ scenario.


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