New research shows how the APAC job market fares fresh off the heels of COVID-19 and what this could mean for organisations looking to recruit quality talent.
By Zee Johnson
The APAC job market has greatly fluctuated during and following the height of the pandemic. PRO Unlimited’s recent APAC Labor Market Report revealed several observations from the past two years, many of which experts are still watching closely.
The report details trends that have happened in India, Singapore, and Australia from January 2020 to the beginning of the second quarter of this year. With billions of data points analysed to compose the report, here are some trends prevalent in APAC’s evolving market.
Unemployment is Low, Vacancies Aren’t
At the end of last year, unemployment rates in each analysed country had either reached or approached pre-pandemic levels. Yet, the number of open job vacancies stayed higher than before the pandemic, even breaking records in other APAC countries.
The overall unemployment rate declined across the entire region and by January of this year, the rates appeared lower than before the pandemic (prior to January 2020). These numbers are a major improvement for India in particular, as the country witnessed historically high unemployment levels (23.5%) when COVID-19 first set in. For Australia and Singapore, those numbers were 6.4% and 2.9%, respectively.
And in addition, high vacancies have allowed candidates the ability to choose where they’d like to work. In fact, candidates with the most high-demand skillsets could entertain two or more job offers at a time, as compared to those with broader, more general skills.
High Skills? High Time-to-Fill
The time it takes to get a position filled, the report found, continues to vary for each country. In Australia, that time has increased over the past two years, whilst in Singapore, it’s slightly declined. India on the other hand hasn’t recorded much movement at all, mainly because of the country’s high lay-off and unemployment rates making it easy to source talent.
When filling a position, skillset and career field play key roles. For instance, acquiring an Australian candidate with a general IT skillset took approximately 5.4 days longer in 2021 than in 2019. And for jobs requiring more niche, sophisticated skillsets, it took organisations an average of two or three months to fill these positions.
Pay Increases for Some, Not All
The tight market has caused many countries to increase wages to attract the talent they need, especially in high-demand fields. With strong governmental wage support in Singapore and Australia, and Australia also seeing boosts from large companies moving into the country, wages have greatly improved. In India, however, wages decreased during the height of the pandemic and candidates received lower offers. It is suggested that soon, India will see a minimum of a 10% to 15% increase on pre-pandemic levels, while Singapore and Australia will see 20% or greater.