Robert Walters Releases Asia Job Index Q1 2012

2012-05-31 13:33 1546

SINGAPORE, May 31, 2012 /PRNewswire-Asia/ -- Robert Walters, one of the world's leading specialist professional recruitment consultancies, has launched its Asia Job Index for Q1 2012.

The Robert Walters Asia Job Index tracks advertisement volumes for professional positions across the leading job boards and national newspapers in Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Mainland China, South Korea and Japan.

Asia Job Index Q1 2012 findings:

  • The Robert Walters Asia Job Index reveals that the total number of job advertisements for professional positions fell by 1.4% from Q4 2011 to Q1 2012.
  • The decline was due predominantly to the Christmas and Calendar/Lunar New Year holidays, which impacts the volume and speed of recruitment activity.
  • However, when compared to Q1 2011, overall recruitment advertising rose by 16.0%.
  • This, combined with a 36.6% increase in job advertisements between January and March 2012, suggests that recruitment sentiment in the region remains robust.

Singapore: Rise in advertising levels across HR, logistics and business development as companies implement talent transformation projects

  • Recruitment advertising in Singapore saw healthy growth in Q1 2012 with an 11.4% increase quarter on quarter and a 33.7% rise on Q1 2011 figures.
  • The HR sector saw job advertising increase 13.9% as companies undertake significant talent transformation projects and move towards more flexible workforces.
  • The financial services sector, however, continues to be a challenging market with growth confined principally to those areas subject to heightened regulation.
  • Business development increased by 4.6% as companies sought to invest in revenue generators, while Logistics recruitment advertising grew by 19.6%.

Hong Kong: Creative industries show strong growth

  • Recruitment activity in Hong Kong continued to rise in Q1 2012, notwithstanding the typically quiet Christmas/New Year and Chinese New Year periods. 
  • The growth in the creative industries, particularly Art & Design and Advertising & Marketing (up 16.8% and 16.4%), together with a strong rise in administrative and secretarial job advertisements, suggests a growing confidence in the resilience of the Hong Kong economy.
  • There was a similar rise in the number of advertised positions within the financial services and legal sectors (14.1% and 11.6% respectively), explained by the growing number of companies who have sought to gain a foothold in the Chinese and Asian markets, and the increase in complexity of Hong Kong regulation.
  • Retail recruitment in Q1 2012 showed steady growth, driven by mainland tourism into the region.
  • Tourism was also a prevalent driver in medical services, which saw an 11.8% increase on the previous quarter.

Malaysia: IT and accounting recruitment levels rose as companies continued to outsource services

  • In Malaysia, Q1 2012 recruitment advertising was affected in January and February by the New Year holiday periods. Activity, however, picked up in March as headcounts for the year were finalised and bonuses were paid.
  • Retail advertising remained stable in Q1 2012, reflecting the continuing demand for revenue generating staff
  • Product and logistics operations advertisement levels rose by 7.5% on Q4 2011 as tightening supply chains in Malaysia drove recruitment for high quality talent in logistics.
  • Malaysia's development of its IT and accounting/financial servicing sectors has had a significant impact on recruitment in these areas with advertising increasing by 13.6% and 15.8% respectively.

Mainland China: Medical services advertising activity grew in line with rising investment in healthcare

  • Chinese recruitment advertising activity in Q1 2012 grew 14% year on year. Whilst January remains a traditionally quiet month for hiring, February and March both showed strong growth.
  • Medical services recruitment grew 7.2% on Q4 2011 as a growing affluence within the country drives greater demand for, and investment in, healthcare.
  • China's increasing reliance on IT was reflected in a 3.5% growth in this sector on the previous quarter.
  • However, more rigid state control over the purchase of property was a principal driver in depressing the number of property management advertisements in the period. This sector was down 11.4% on Q4 2011.

Japan: Retail sector growth

  • In Japan, hiring levels rose in Q1 with the number of job advertisements increasing 14.8% quarter on quarter.
  • Recruitment activity in the retail sector improved significantly, driven (in part) by re-construction related spending, following the earthquake in 2011. Uncertainty surrounding Japan's energy mix and, in particular, the extent to which the country can develop a clean energy policy has prompted an increasing demand for engineers (up 36.2% on Q4 2011).
  • Demand for data infrastructure and smart phone engineers also fuelled recruitment activity in IT.
  • Recruitment is beginning to reach saturation and this is reflected in the relative decline in advertisements in the medical services sector.
  • The number of financial services advertisements in Q1 2012 increased by more than 19 per cent on the previous quarter. This increase is consistent with Q1 traditionally being the busiest hiring period of the year for banks in Japan.

South Korea: Rise in legal advertising

  • In South Korea, recruitment advertising levels in Q1 2012 were broadly in line with numbers from Q4 2011, registering only a 0.4% decline.
  • Whilst January is seasonally a quiet month, there was a strong growth in recruitment advertising in the following two months of the quarter with February, in particular, recording a 124.9% increase on Q1 2011.
  • The legal sector saw an 11.3% rise on the previous quarter, driven by the incorporation of new legal firms in the country.
  • In retail, a number of foreign brands, seeking to enter the Korean market (either directly, or through local partners), has impacted positively on recruitment advertising with a 5.6% increase quarter on quarter.

For more comprehensive details and figures for each specific country, please see the full report from


The Robert Walters Asia Job Index tracks the number of job advertisements on a daily basis across the executive appointments sections of key newspapers and leading online job boards in Singapore, Malaysia, Japan, Korea and Hong Kong. In China, job opportunities are largely advertised online via job portals and as such, the index will only track online job advertisements for this market. For a complete listing of the publications and job boards included in our findings, visit:

About Robert Walters

Robert Walters is an award-winning business and one of the leading international recruitment consultancies. The Group has a network of 48 offices spanning 23 countries, including the United Kingdom, Ireland, Continental Europe, the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Asia, South Africa and South America. For more information about Robert Walters Singapore, please visit

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For further information or interview requests, please contact:

Joyce Lin
Editorial & PR Specialist, Asia
Robert Walters
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M: +65-9770-1133

Gigi Koh
Editorial & PR Specialist, China
T: +86-21-5153-5810
M: +86-187-2104-0323

Ambrose Lau,
Editorial & PR Specialist, Japan
T: +81-34570-1500

Source: Robert Walters