Labour market remains robust despite economic headwinds

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JobStreet by SEEK has launched its latest report – What Jobseekers Wish Employers Knew: Unlocking the Future of Recruitment. Launched across 6 key markets, Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, and the Philippines, this report is the world’s largest survey on recruitment preferences, in partnership with Boston Consulting Group (BCG).

Despite the threat of economic slowdown, the labour market remains robust. According to an earlier report, 1 in 2 employers will continue to increase headcount in the next 6 months.

Within the heated talent market, 74% of respondents in Singapore are approached multiple times a year with job opportunities. As most jobseekers understand that they are in demand, 62% feel they have a strong negotiation position when looking for jobs.

Peter Bithos, Chief Executive Officer, Asia, SEEK, commented on the findings, “When faced with a possible recession, the balance of power in the labour market tends to shift towards employers as hiring tightens. However, we believe the situation is different this time as many organisations in Asia are still recovering from the jobs lost during the pandemic. While hiring growth may slow down during times of uncertainty, there is no doubt that it is still a jobseekers’ market right now, and so it’s important for employers to know how to attract, recruit and retain talent.”

Talent’s Changing Needs

For employers to win the war for talent, the key is to have a good understanding of jobseekers’ work preferences and priorities, which are ever evolving. An increasing number of jobseekers value work-life balance and a flexible working arrangement as their top priorities. For example, two-thirds of the survey respondents would prefer a proper work-life balance in their ideal career.

In addition to that, the hybrid model has become the most preferred mode of working today with 71% of respondents choosing the hybrid model over going back to the office or staying at home full time. Other factors such as career advancement into leadership positions (44%), opportunities for upskilling and reskilling (26%), and working on exciting projects and initiatives (25%) are also high on jobseekers’ priorities list.

According to the report, the top two deal breakers for Singaporean jobseekers when accepting a job are financial compensation and work-life balance, which is in line with the responses from global, Southeast Asian and Hong Kong jobseekers.

However, having a good relationship between boss and employee is an emerging priority for the Singaporean jobseeker, as is job security after many people lost their jobs during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

How To Recruit Talent

Once employers have a grasp of jobseekers’ work preferences and priorities, the next step is the recruitment process. A good offer is no longer enough — jobseekers also expect a good recruitment process.

55% of jobseekers surveyed would refuse an attractive offer if they had a negative experience during recruitment. To ensure a pleasant recruitment experience for both the employer and jobseeker, employers are encouraged to tailor their strategies according to their understanding of the evolving preferences of jobseekers during the recruitment process.

The report debunked and proved several recruitment myths and gave insight into what jobseekers want in their recruitment journey, for instance:

  • A smooth, timely process is the number one way for an employer to stand out during recruitment, as mentioned by 67% of respondents.
  • Online job portals and word of mouth are jobseekers’ preferred channels of seeking out jobs.
  • Jobseekers are more attracted to job advertisements that focus on skills rather than years of experience.
  • Despite the new norm, many jobseekers still prefer to go for in-person interviews as it allows for more personal and meaningful connections
  • When it comes to decision making, face-to-face interaction with their future managers remain important, with majority of jobseekers putting that as their top priority.

Chew Siew Mee, Managing Director of JobStreet by SEEK, says, “Employers and jobseekers often have divergent views, resulting in a gap in understanding. Our objective is to bridge this gap by facilitating the creation of actionable insights that enable employers to refine their recruitment strategies.”

Bithos says, “These last few years have been a wake-up call to many. Today, we are knee-deep in the era of ‘The Great Reconfiguration’ as employees are reconfiguring their work and personal lives, prioritising the latter with greater demand for work-life balance and flexibility.

“Meanwhile, employers are increasingly looking for different skills, with a continued focus on digital and technology skills. Employers that want to attract great talent with the skills that their businesses require must cater to this changing needs.”

As jobseekers’ needs evolve, employers need to adapt. The report also includes ideas and recommendations for employers to improve their recruitment strategy, process, and the total offer to candidates, such as how to overcome their biases to increase their talent pool, calibrating their approach to different personas, getting culture fundamentals right, and more.