Overview of the Year 2022
- An acute talent shortage in Hong Kong and Singapore during the first half of the year
- Hong Kong was already suffering from a talent exodus because of perceived instability in the region. This was further exacerbated by strict COVID policies which required a three-week quarantine which dissuaded foreign talent from considering moving to Hong Kong.
- Singapore with its relatively less strict COVID policies saw many from Hong Kong choosing to move there. Many family offices and hedge funds were also setting up shop in Singapore. However, for companies wanting to expand rapidly, getting talent from overseas proved very difficult as visas were hard to come by for foreigners.
- This also meant that demand for local talent skyrocketed in both places amidst low supply and this meant that salary increases when switching jobs were in the range of 20 to 50%. Counteroffers were becoming increasingly common. It was a good time to be in technology as a candidate.
- Headwinds during the second half of the year
- Hong Kong relaxed its COVID rules in the second half of the year and Singapore also made sponsorships of work visas easier. However, this also happened at around the same time as the downtrend in crypto and wide-ranging tech layoffs.
- The crypto downturn and tech layoffs notwithstanding, hiring in tech, especially in Hong Kong, was still very active due to pent-up demand. We did notice the pace of hiring slowing down in Singapore during Q4, especially against the backdrop of Hong Kong opening its borders.
- Noteworthy trends that we observed
- Given the competition in procuring talent. companies are increasingly becoming more brand conscious with senior managers being more and more involved in the interview process by positioning their companies in the right light. When looking for jobs, other than salary, the culture of the company has been very important to candidates, and hearing directly from senior management has influenced their decision whether to join the company or not.
- It is by no means the end of the era of phone/zoom interviews but we did notice that managers have started to prefer actual face-to-face interviews once again. Although many of the companies do offer a hybrid model (work from home on a certain number of days during the week), managers have started preferring staff to return to work to increase collaboration.
- Skills in demand
- In our experience, the below skills were most in demand:
- Developers: C++ (for Investment Banks/Finance Technology), Java (all industries)
- DevOps/SRE and Cyber Security/Cloud skills (the WFH movement during COVID has amplified the need for this)
- Support or Run the Bank (RTB) profiles (every large organization needs people to run/maintain their IT systems and candidates with experience in Perl/Unix/SQL were always needed during the year)
- What we anticipate in 2023
- Given Hong Kong’s borders are now open, we expect the talent crunch in Hong Kong to ease as Hong Kong can import talent from other places. This would mean unreasonable expectations for a salary increase will become less common as they will not be met.
- We expect many of the companies to have a regional presence in both Hong Kong and Singapore, so they are able to hire in both places depending on where they find the right talent.
- In general, despite the various layoffs in the tech world, there is always a need for good tech talent as technology is already a core backbone for many companies and its importance will only increase further with time. We expect there to be significant demand for all kinds of technology talent in both Hong Kong and Singapore.
Hope you find this information useful.
Vince Natteri, Managing Director
(on behalf of the Pinpoint Asia Recruitment Team)