Asia Q3-Q4 2011 job ad levels down 3 percent

Recruitment consultancy Robert Walters released Monday (March 12, 2012) key findings from its Asia Job Index for Q4 2011, the latest in the quarterly report, which tracks advertisement volumes for professional openings across major job boards and national newspapers in China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia and Singapore.

And the Q4 Index registered a three percent decline from Q3, presumably because of "a seasonal dip in job advertisement levels in the last quarter of 2011 in the run up to the festive period and year-end budget reviews," said Robert Walters executives, who elaborated on four geographies.

On Singapore, they said: there was a 10 percent decrease in job advertisement levels from Q3 to Q4 2011; companies chose to postpone job hiring until after the festive period; the conservative global economic climate has led employers to increasingly look toward hiring contract professionals in sectors such as HR and operations in order to reduce costs, which tended to be done directly and in turn resulted in a fall in job advertisements of 11 percent and 12 percent for each respective sector; within the private sector, particularly within banking and finance, hiring continued to be weak as many international banks made redundancies and imposed hiring freezes; and, in contrast, the increase in public sector projects looks set to fuel recruitment activity in the coming months, particularly within construction and industry.

On Hong Kong, they cited "seasonal trends", saying: job advertisement levels fell by 14 percent from Q3 to Q4 2011; recruitment advertising in sales and business development fell slightly by 3 percent as companies sought to maintain revenue generating positions to meet the demands of tourists still visiting the region from the mainland; and, the levels of job advertisements in property also slowed in conjunction with the fall in property loan approvals in 2011, which resulted in a 13 percent drop in advertisements for professional positions in real estate.

They observed an "increase in medical sciences recruitment activity" in Malaysia and said: there was a rise of 16 percent in medical advertisements to meet growing demand, as the life and medical sciences sectors continued to grow; overall job advertisements in Malaysia declined by 11 percent from Q3 to Q4 2011; advertisements for banking and finance professionals continued to decline (by 12 percent) as Malaysia felt the effects of global economic uncertainty.

On China, they saw "growth in niche areas despite cautious market sentiment" and noted that: recruitment levels in IT services rose by 13 percent as companies continued to recruit for this niche area, requiring more sophisticated types of IT functions to meet growing demand; overall levels of job advertisements in China fell by 3 percent from Q3 to Q4 2011, indicating a seasonal reduction in line with expectations of this time of the year; companies were keen to cut costs and recruitment levels within advertising and marketing--non-revenue generating functions of most organisations--declined by 13 percent; and, Chinese companies continued to grow with year-on-year growth in job advertisements of 20 percent from Q4 2010 to Q4 2011.