IT and tech experts enjoy high demand in SEA

  • IT and tech talent must be flexible enough to perform in diverse environments
  • Tech companies must revise their hiring process to cast a wider net


IT and tech experts enjoy high demand in SEA


SOUTHEAST Asia displays unbridled enthusiasm for tech talent, as evidenced by the double-digit annual growth in hiring activity displayed by all three countries during December. This is according to the data provided by the Monster Employment Index, released by on Jan 29.

A monthly gauge of online hiring activity across Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines, the Monster Employment Index (MEI) is tracked and compiled by It comprises data of overall hiring activity in each country, as well as specific data in the IT and telecommunications sector.

Similar to the previous month, December saw Singapore exhibit the highest year-on-year growth in demand with 23%. Coming in second place was Malaysia with 18% annual growth in demand for tech talent, and the Philippines following closely at 13%.


IT and tech experts enjoy high demand in SEA


Only Singapore and the Philippines saw an increase in the availability of tech roles during December, reporting 8% and 16% annual growth, respectively. Malaysia did not see an increase in this sphere, recording a 11% decline.

Despite displaying positive growth for December, Singapore remained stagnant at 8%, the same as the reporting during the month of November. Malaysia experienced a small 3% annual growth in the availability of tech roles during November, but plummeted in December.


IT and tech experts enjoy high demand in SEA


Consistent positive growth in Singapore’s online hiring

Online hiring in Singapore has been on a consistent rise for the past two months, with 5% year-on-year growth between December 2017 and 2018.

This is in line with November’s findings which also grew a 5% y-o-y, after a 1% y-o-y growth in October.


IT and tech experts enjoy high demand in SEA


The biggest driving force behind this growth is the IT, Telecom, BPO/ITES industry, with a 23% year-on-year growth in December, consistent with November’s 22% growth rate. Other industries that displayed impressive double digit year-on-year growth in December were BFSI and Advertising with 17% and 15% rise, respectively.

Engineering and Retail industries both saw positive growth numbers of 6% year-on-year, whereas Healthcare and Import/Export numbers remained the same between December 2017 and 2018.

On the flip side, the Hospitality and Shipping/Marine industries witnessed a year-on-year decline of 3% and 2%, respectively.

Legal professionals were found to be most in-demand, with 9% y-o-y growth.

Marketing & Communications and Software/Hardware/Telecom professionals also saw strong demand growth of 8% for both sectors. Other jobs roles with strong positive demand growth were Customer Service and Sales & Business Development with 6% and 4% growth, respectively.

Healthcare professionals witnessed a significant drop of 9% from December 2017 to 2018, reflecting poor demand for this industry.

“The past few months have seen consistent positive growth in Singapore’s online hiring landscape, but companies will need to frequently train and upskill their workforces in order to maintain this momentum in the coming years.” said Abhijeet Mukherjee, CEO of – APAC and Middle East.

“A recent McKinsey survey shows that as digitisation and automation transform the way we work, 60% of global executives expect that up to half of their organisation will need to either be retrained or replaced within five years.” he added.

Malaysian oil & gas sector stays positive throughout 2018

Online recruitment activity in the Oil and Gas sector remained positive throughout 2018, up 8% year-on-year in December. It also marks 21 consecutive months of year-on-year growth for the industry since April 2017.


IT and tech experts enjoy high demand in SEA


The IT, Telecom/ISP and BPO/ITES witnessed the steepest year-on-year growth among industry sectors for the sixth consecutive month, recording another double-digit growth, up 18% in December.

The Logistic, Courier/Freight/Transportation, Shipping/Marine as well as Production/Manufacturing, Automotive and Ancillary industry both saw an uptrend in e- recruitment activity for the first time since August 2018, up 7% and 1% year-on-year, respectively.

Among occupation categories, Hospitality & Travel professionals registered the most notable growth in the series, up a steep 44% year-on-year in December. In the short-term as well, the job-role indicated positive growth, up 37% month-on-month and 6% on a six-month basis.

Overall however, Malaysia registered a 3% year-on-year decline in online recruitment activity in December.

Online hiring in the Banking, Financial Services and Insurance (BFSI) industry was on a downtrend throughout 2018, registering a decline of -12% year-on-year in December.

Demand for Finance & Accounts job roles also recorded a drop of -13% year-on-year.

After leading in hiring demand for two months, Customer Service professionals witnessed the steepest decline amongst job roles in December, down -29% year-on-year.

“Oil and gas players remain confident on the industry outlook as online hiring activity was on a positive trajectory throughout 2018 and, impressively, for 21 straight months. Despite the sector’s volatility, as the year ended analysts were optimistic about the stabilisation of crude oil prices in 2019, forecasting an increase in both upstream and downstream activities,” said Mukherjee.

“With changes in global energy markets, innovation and technology will continue to play a critical role as companies seek to meet growing energy needs sustainably. It’s not surprising that we see new roles being created in the oil and gas industry.

“As focus on automation and smart technologies means companies will need to keep innovating to remain agile and competitive – creating demand for talent with the technical skills and creative outlook to learn emerging technologies and develop new ones.

“Companies will increasingly explore new ways to attract and retain Millennial talent, rebranding themselves and introducing a more collaborative and digital culture.”

Philippines online hiring on a roll

Online hiring growth in the Philippines experienced a strong growth rate of 17% year-on-year between December 2017 and 2018, though this was a slight drop from November’s 23% y-o-y growth rate.


IT and tech experts enjoy high demand in SEA


The Hospitality industry recorded the best growth for December, with a 34% year-on-year

rise, up by eight points from November’s 26% growth. This was closely followed by the Healthcare and Retail industries with 33% and 32% y-o-y growth, respectively.

Other industries that recorded notable growth are Logistics with 26%, BFSI with 19% and Advertising with 13% growth between December 2017 and 2018, respectively.

The only industry to record a decline out of the 12 industries monitored by the Index was Education, with an 8% decline between December 2017 and 2018, falling by three points from November’s 5% yearly drop rate.

The highest growth was recorded by the Purchase/Logistics/Supply Chain profession with 35% growth over a period of one year.

This was followed by Healthcare and Finance & Accounts with 29% and 26% growth between December 2017 and 2018, respectively.

Other notable professions such as Marketing & Communications, Hospitality & Travel and Customer Service clocked in growth numbers of 16%, 14% and 10%, respectively, between December 2017 and 2018.

“Online hiring in the Philippines has been consistently high for the year and will likely remain so in the coming year as well. In its World Economic Situation and Prospects 2019 report, the United Nations said they project the Philippines’ GDP growth to be 6.5% in 2019, up from 6.3% in 2018. The government is stepping up implementation of the ‘Build, Build, Build’ programme, paving the way forward for economic growth which will further drive hiring growth,” said Mukherjee.

“Southeast Asia is seeing an explosion of tech startups exploring functions that could be very beneficial to people’s lives. As such, these companies are on the lookout for tech talent who are innovative, driven, and can take teams and products to the next level.

“Tech companies both up-and-coming and established are also looking to launch into new markets overseas and widen their scopes of operation, and are recruiting for highly adaptable individuals who can thrive in unfamiliar environments” said Mukherjee.

“IT and tech talent must be flexible enough to perform in diverse environments. Tech companies themselves must revise their hiring process to cast a wider net and gain access to a larger talent pool.”


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