APAC has lower unemployment, more vacancies than before the pandemic

Dustin Burgess, GM and SVP of Total Talent Intelligence at PRO Unlimited

PRO Unlimited, an integrated workforce management (IWM) platform provider, released the results of its July 2022 APAC Labor Market Report. The analysis highlights the employment rebound in full swing throughout the region and its implications. Despite unemployment figures in Australia, Singapore and Malaysia dropping to or below pre-pandemic levels, these countries have seen vacancies increase by 83%, 127% and 111%, respectively.

“The employment landscape in APAC is volatile. With unemployment low and vacancies high, the way forward for employers may feel uncertain and unpredictable. What we’re seeing, as a result, is a fierce battle for talent and a reimagining of what companies can and should offer employees,” said Dustin Burgess, GM and SVP of Total Talent Intelligence at PRO Unlimited.

What were the insights of PRO Unlimited’s research?

The high number of vacancies available across the Asia Pacific region, low unemployment numbers and overall volatility of the last few years have made sourcing skills, both generic and niche, more complex than ever before. PRO’s research analysis also found these insights:

Technology professionals continue to be highly sought-after

Candidates across the finance, fintech and tech sectors—like principal consultants, big data architects, data analysts, architects and front-end developers—are in particularly high demand across the region, especially because talent pools in these areas are limited.

Bill rates are rising, but not for everyone

Wages within the technology sector have risen significantly over the past 12 to 24 months, including increases up to 20% and beyond in Australia. However, bolstered wages are not a given across all sectors or countries. Despite India and the Philippines’ similar salary gains in hard-to-staff industries like technology and cybersecurity, job seekers looking for roles in other sectors have seen wages flatten or decrease in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic.

Time-to-fill is in flux

The time it takes to fill roles is volatile as markets correct toward pre-pandemic norms. Countries like Australia and Singapore are recovering from moves made during the height of the pandemic, such as border lockdowns, changes to employment pass applications, etc.

With this correction in motion (but not yet complete), each country faces a unique set of circumstances affecting the average time to fill a vacancy. In Australia, times are increasing while Singapore is seeing a decrease in vacancy lengths and India is holding steady. The region is seeing times-to-fill of around two to three months for the most in-demand roles.

As in other regions, highly qualified candidates across the APAC understand that they remain in a position of power. These candidates are fielding multiple offers at once and understand that opportunities for growth are ready and waiting for them. In Singapore, tech-focused candidates have managed to secure salary increases of up to 30% when switching roles.

“In-demand experts know that if their job isn’t working out, they will have opportunities elsewhere. That knowledge has shifted the landscape, forcing employers to focus as more on retention, and to put emphasis on creative benefits and brand messaging,” added Burgess.

“Across APAC, staying informed will be the key to attracting and retaining talent. Recruiters and HR practitioners must focus on employee sentiments and robust data analysis to ensure they are prepared for whatever challenges they may face in the months and years to come.”

What was the research methodology?

PRO Unlimited’s research report was developed by the company’s NorthStar HCM team, comprised of more than 80 MBAs, PhDs, CPAs and Consulting Business Analysts and backed by a network of over 1,000 compensation experts and recruiters across the globe.

The NorthStar HCM team analyzes program data and provides actionable cost-saving, efficiency and process-improvement strategies. The report leverages actionable intelligence and insights culled from its aggregation, cleansing and anonymization of data across various internal and external data sources, including hundreds of client programs across the globe.

To learn more about APAC’s labor market trends, download the full report.