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Robert Walters Asia Job Index Q3 2010

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HONG KONG, Nov. 2, 2010 /PRNewswire-Asia/ — Robert Walters, the international recruitment consultancy, today publishes its Asia Job Index for the third quarter of 2010. The Robert Walters Asia Job Index tracks advertisement volumes for professional positions across the leading job boards and newspapers in Hong Kong, Singapore, mainland China and Japan.

(Logo: )


— Advertisements placed in Q3 2010 increased by 72.3% compared with Q3 2009,
demonstrating a continuing uplift in levels of advertising and further
signs of employer confidence.
— Job advertisements in Q3 across the region were up 12.7% during the quarter
compared with Q2.
— Compared to Q3 2009, Japan and China have seen the largest increase in job
advertisements (+108.1% and +74.6% respectively).
— Compared to Q2 2010, numbers of job advertisements in Q3 have increased in
all regions: Japan is the highest, up 27.8%, mainland China increased by
12.5%, Singapore by 5.2% and Hong Kong up 3.8%.
— Japan saw particularly significant growth in Financial Services, IT and
— There has been a rise in advertisements for Clerical and Administrative
staff across the regions, with personnel increasingly in demand to support
professionals hired earlier in the year.
— High quality candidates remain in short supply and recruitment from
overseas is becoming increasingly common.


The Robert Walters Asia Job Index indicates that the total number of advertisements for professional positions in Q3 2010 was up 12.7% on the previous quarter and almost 6% across the quarter, from July to September. Compared to Q3 2009, overall numbers of job advertisements have increased by 72.3%. The figures show that the recovery in sentiment, which became apparent in Q1 and Q2, has continued strongly. Employer confidence is higher than at any time since the start of the global downturn. It is also becoming apparent that there is a severe shortage of skills, which is starting to push salaries upwards, especially in financial services.

Month by month analysis of job advertisements for professional positions
placed in Q2 2010 / Q3 2010:

Hong Kong* Singapore Japan Mainland China TOTAL

Apr-10 124,927 83,350 122,670 3,379,975 3,710,922
May-10 129,633 80,373 142,415 3,473,473 3,825,894
Jun-10 134,979 83,090 173,295 3,536,522 3,927,886
Total in Q2 2010 389,539 246,813 438,380 10,389,970 11,464,702

Jul-10 132,949 88,101 205,782 3,684,633 4,111,465
Aug-10 135,129 86,930 184,262 4,062,467 4,468,788
Sep-10 136,357 84,634 170,346 3,946,119 4,337,456
Total in Q3 2010 404,435 259,665 560,390 11,693,219 12,917,709
% change
Q2 2010 – Q3 2010 3.82% 5.21% 27.83% 12.54% 12.67%
% change
Jul 2010 – Sep 2010 2.56% -3.94% -17.22% 7.10% 5.50%

* Hong Kong figures have been adjusted to reflect the inclusion of Career
Times advertisements.

Quarter-on-quarter analysis of job advertisements for professional
positions placed in Q3 2009 / Q3 2010:

2009 2010 % change
Hong Kong *
July 106,478 132,949 24.86%
August 109,787 135,129 23.08%
September 116,624 136,357 16.92%
HONG KONG TOTAL Q3 332,889 404,435 21.49%

July 63,643 88,101 38.43%
August 67,639 86,930 28.52%
September 69,214 84,634 22.28%
SINGAPORE TOTAL Q3 200,496 259,665 29.51%

July 89,069 205,782 131.04%
August 88,871 184,262 107.34%
September 91,391 170,346 86.39%
JAPAN TOTAL Q3 269,331 560,390 108.07%

Mainland China
July 1,891,031 3,684,633 94.85%
August 2,323,765 4,062,467 74.82%
September 2,481,405 3,946,119 59.03%
CHINA TOTAL Q3 6,696,201 11,693,219 74.62%

July 2,150,221 4,111,465 91.21%
August 2,590,062 4,468,788 72.54%
September 2,758,634 4,337,456 57.23%
TOTAL Q3 7,498,917 12,917,709 72.26%

* Hong Kong figures have been adjusted to reflect the inclusion of Career
Times advertisements.

Sector Analysis — Number of jobs advertised for professional roles Q3

Hong Kong Q3 2010 % change Singapore Q3 2010 % change
Jul Aug Sep Jul-Sep Jul Aug Sep Jul-Sep

Development 17,124 17,275 17,616 2.87% 17,125 17,260 16,684 -2.58%
Management 2,061 2,108 2,456 19.17% 524 528 534 1.91%
Logistics) 8,257 8,643 8,552 3.57% 7,627 7,209 6,639 -12.95%
Purchasing 6,243 6,078 5,816 -6.84% 928 921 886 -4.53%
Officer 1,954 1,889 1,940 -0.72% 859 838 801 -6.75%
IT Supervisor/
Administrator 7,726 7,494 7,981 3.30% 7,233 6,986 7,149 -1.16%
Training 685 520 580 -15.33% 4,566 4,743 4,590 0.53%
Technician 15,790 15,742 15,818 0.18% 13,035 12,044 11,922 -8.54%
Reporter 310 264 244 -21.29% 38 47 41 7.89%
Servicing 1,439 1,329 1,191 -17.23% 1,896 2,221 1,879 -0.90%
Analyst 203 156 168 -17.24% 373 334 326 -12.60%
Creative 3,616 3,604 3,613 -0.08% 1,804 1,622 1,740 -3.55%
Marketing 8,516 8,282 8,332 -2.16% 3,926 3,727 3,735 -4.87%
Secretarial 17,439 18,475 18,106 3.82% 8,956 9,830 9,330 4.18%
Finance 15,307 15,089 15,727 2.74% 11,465 11,454 11,119 -3.02%
Others 30,312 31,131 31,527 4.01% 10,025 9,114 9,006 -10.16%

Average -2.58% -3.57%

% %
Mainland China Q3 2010 change Japan Q3 2010 change

Jul- Jul-
Jul Aug Sep Sep Jul Aug Sep Sep

ment 1,023,415 1,224,742 1,106,863 8.15% 55,069 46,147 40,219 -26.97%
ment 0 1 0 0% 46 49 38 17.39%
Logistics) 416,315 453,388 450,836 8.29% 152 141 135 -11.18%
Purchasing 31,414 35,732 33,476 6.56% 0 1 7 0%
Officer 8,409 9,120 8,266 -1.70% 109 99 107 -1.83%
tor 441,444 452,445 469,324 6.32% 6,029 4,278 4,837 -19.77%
Training 205,168 219,162 217,675 6.10% 130 146 167 28.46%
Technician 458,757 508,455 501,884 9.40% 25,258 21,516 18,883 -25.24%
Reporter 80,178 87,602 87,737 9.43% 47 70 61 29.79%
Servicing 53,480 58,986 56,753 6.12% 67 82 79 17.91%
/Analyst 92,370 95,778 93,949 1.71% 1,576 1,474 1,369 -13.13%
Creative 57,009 61,426 58,059 1.84% 3,284 2,761 2,080 -36.66%
Marketing 362,343 354,026 376,737 3.97% 1,288 1,345 1,398 8.54%
Secretarial 85,211 96,972 96,596 13.36% 6,755 6,252 6,115 -9.47%
/Finance 232,431 247,636 236,206 1.62% 3,593 3,181 4,195 16.75%
Others 136,689 156,996 151,758 11.02% 102,571 96,977 90,884 -11.39%

Average 6.15% -4.77%


Q3’s job advertisement data confirms that the market has almost reached the levels experienced before the onset of the global downturn. Year-on-year growth has been very strong, with an overall increase of 72.3% in Q3 2010 over Q3 2009. However, the growth seen in the first half of 2010 was so strong that it was difficult for this momentum to be maintained, hence a sequential rise of only 12.7% in Q3 2010 as compared with the previous quarter.

Most sectors saw a healthy increase in job advertisements. Financial Services has been strong, and so, too, have been Retail, Engineering, Property and IT. July was the strongest month. The slight decrease in August and September could be attributed to holidays being taken in some territories and a natural pause in hiring as employers reviewed their annual headcount budgets.

There is a shortage of talent in many areas and there has been a pick up in hiring from overseas as a result. Bilingual candidates and those with specialist product skills and qualifications are commanding the highest salaries. The contract market is also seeing a resurgence, which reflects a tendency of both employers and candidates to focus mainly on the year-end and not beyond.

Mark Ellwood, Managing Director, Robert Walters Asia explains: “It’s looking very much like a V-shaped recovery in Asia, with very strong growth in the year to date indicative of a swift rebound from the downturn. Singapore and Hong Kong are now seeing a period of stabilisation as headcount budgets are reviewed, and this may lead to an increase in the number of contract workers hired for the fourth quarter. Mainland China looks likely to continue to grow and the outlook for the region is as favourable as it has been since the downturn began.”

The number of job advertisements placed in Q3 in Hong Kong increased by 3.8% over Q2, less of an increase than in the previous two quarters. While this suggests that employers may be consolidating their advertising spend, it disguises the fact that levels of recruitment activity in the region have continued to be very strong. Retail has seen an increase in advertising (+3%), reflecting the continued growth in consumer confidence and tourism. Exports, too, have been strong, and this is evident from the increase in demand for product and logistics managers (+4%). The property market is continuing to boom and there has been a significant increase in demand in advertising for property management professionals (+19%). Demand for legal staff remains strong, buoyed by an increasing number of IPOs, where corporate legal skills are a key requirement.

Matthew Bennett, Managing Director at Robert Walters Hong Kong, comments: “In the first part of the year, we found that candidates for revenue generating roles were in strong demand. This has been followed more recently by the recruitment of staff to support these professionals, as the local economy continues to grow. Skills shortages are increasingly apparent: employers are looking overseas to fill roles and in some cases, we have seen examples of salary rises of over 20%. There’s no doubt that employers want better qualified candidates than they had in place before the downturn and they are continuing to search for quality. We had thought that this might start to slow down in the second half of the year, but activity levels and confidence at this point remain strong.”

Conditions were similar in Singapore, where there was a 5.2% rise in job advertisements compared to Q2. The same trends seen in Q2 were again evident in Q3, albeit at a slightly reduced rate. Advertising levels were broadly similar in the Accounting and Finance where an increasing emphasis is being placed on candidates with governance expertise, in areas such as risk, compliance, audit and credit control. There has been an uplift in demand for Clerical and Administrative staff (+4.2%), as support was sought for positions that were filled earlier in the year. Candidates with specific product knowledge, for example in such areas as derivatives and, especially, commodities trading have been in strong demand. These are generally being sourced locally, as overseas candidates do not have the necessary skills. The resulting talent shortage is also being exacerbated by many graduates being encouraged to choose more traditional careers, such as law, accountancy or medicine. This is affecting salaries, with increases of up to 25% offered to some candidates.

Andrea Ross Managing Director, Robert Walters Singapore, comments: “This quarter, we have seen increased demand for candidates with very specific skills, which tend to be acquired locally for e.g. tax, financial planning and analysis, sales etc. Overseas candidates are generally those who are being internally transferred by large, global organisations where skills are limited on the ground. Many businesses are also using Singapore as a central hub for their Asian networks and this is creating demand across a number of sectors, notably digital media, biotech, renewable energy, pharmaceuticals and financial services. We are likely to see an increase in the number of contract roles being taken up due to the variety of roles currently out there in the market, as well as the opportunity to gain exposure to industries / functions that may not be available on the permanent side. The overall sentiment is positive — and for many candidates and companies, the focus is firmly on future growth.”

Mainland China was not able to maintain the very strong momentum in job advertising seen earlier in the year, but there was nevertheless a rise of 12.5% in job advertisements placed in Q3 compared to Q2. The holiday period in September also had some impact on advertisement numbers. This disguises the fact that recruitment activity was very strong in the quarter and the market continued its growth pattern. Strong rises in demand for Clerical and Administrative staff (+13.4%) were seen, a trend also witnessed in other territories, as support was needed for previous front-office hires. Retail also continued to increase (+8.2%), as mainland China passed South Korea to become the second largest luxury goods market in Asia, behind Japan. Chinese candidates who had gone overseas are now returning to roles in mainland China, as the skills and experience they have acquired while abroad are becoming increasingly relevant to the domestic market, especially at more senior levels. For very specialist positions, this could lead to salary increases of more than 30%, as a result of limited local candidate supply.

Carter Yang, Managing Director of Robert Walters China, comments: “We have seen strong growth in recruitment activity during Q3. Most sectors continue to seek high quality staff, notably Banking, Luxury Goods and Retail. The major areas of emphasis in terms of required skills are in sales and business development. There is also a shortage of experienced IT professionals. We expect these levels of demand to grow, especially at more senior levels, as businesses seek the leadership required to exploit the commercial opportunities arising from the growing economy in mainland China.”

Japan has seen the highest quarter-on-quarter rise in the region, with an overall increase of 27.8% in total number of job advertisements placed. July proved a particularly busy period, with every sector showing the highest level of advertisements placed per month since before the global downturn. There was some tailing off in August and September, which slightly distorts the July-September comparative figures. In Retail, this was mainly due to the hot weather in August and September, which delayed the start of winter collections. However, on a quarter-by-quarter basis, most sectors showed growth.

The largest area of growth in job advertisements was in Financial Services (+46.0% Q3 over Q2). There was also an increase in the number of jobs advertised in IT (+33.8%), as organisations accelerated the replacement of IT resources that were cut during the downturn. Engineering (+21.6%) saw strong demand for technicians with electrical, chemical and mechanical skills, driven by the automotive industry’s focus on fuel cells and other forms of alternative power. Advertisements for jobs in Retail also rose (+12.3%), as domestic confidence was bolstered by demand for Japanese goods from Chinese consumers. Property started to see increased hiring of asset managers and acquisition professionals, as some firms in this sector started to believe that inner city property prices may have reached their bottom and commercial activity increased as a result.

David Swan, Managing Director of Robert Walters Japan and Korea, comments: “The pick up in hiring that began earlier in the year gathered pace in Q3, with levels of activity at their highest since the start of the downturn. Most sectors saw increased demand for candidates, but the availability of top quality candidates remains limited, especially those with bilingual skills. A notable trend was the increasing amount of purchasing of Japanese luxury goods by Chinese consumers, on the basis that Japan produces quality. Looking forward, sentiment is becoming increasingly optimistic, though an element of caution still remains.”


Robert Walters is the leading professional recruitment firm in the Asian market and currently has an office footprint covering Hong Kong, Singapore, mainland China, Japan, Malaysia, Thailand and South Korea.


Robert Walters specialises in recruitment at a mid-senior executive level and is able to provide commentary on key trends across this segment of the market. The Robert Walters Asia Jobs Index tracks advertisements by number in the executive appointments sections of the following:

Hong Kong Singapore

Classified Post Straits Times (Daily)
Career Times (Friday Edition)
Fuel Magazine

Mainland China Japan Asahi Shinbun (Sunday & Monday morning edition) Nihon Keizai Shinbun (Sunday morning edition)


Robert Walters

Richard Parnell
CEO Asia Pacific (ex Japan)
Robert Walters Asia Pacific
Tel: +61-2-8289-3100

Mark Ellwood
Managing Director
Robert Walters Asia (ex. Japan)
Tel: +65-6228-0200

David Swan
Managing Director
Robert Walters Japan / Korea
Tel: +81-3-4570-1542

Matthew Bennett
Managing Director, Hong Kong
Tel: +852-2103-5300

Andrea Ross
Managing Director, Singapore
Tel: +65-6228-0200

Carter Yang
Managing Director, China
Tel: +86-12-5153-5858

For further information on the Asia Job Index or to subscribe for future releases, please visit the dedicated micro-site at

Media contact:

Mary Lai
Marketing Executive, Robert Walters Hong Kong
Tel: +852-2103-5319

SOURCE Robert Walters

Name of Printer:Finet Holdings Ltd.
Address of Printer:Room C, 11/F., Bank of East Asia Harbour View Centre, 56 Gloucester Road, Wanchai, Hong Kong

Written by asiafreshnews

November 5, 2010 at 5:09 pm

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