We observed factors that created headwinds for tech recruitment in both Hong Kong and Singapore but on the other hand, there were also reasons that bolstered the need for hiring in both regions as you will see outlined below:
Headwinds in both Hong Kong and Singapore
The recruitment bonanza we experienced in 2022 slowed down significantly during Q1 2023. This was due to two factors:
The Chinese New Year in 2023 was at the end of January. This meant that interview processes in general were slower during both the festive season in December 2022 and largely in January 2023.
Layoffs galore: News of Crypto Firms/High Tech firms laying off many of their staff around the world including in Asia flooded the market. This dampened hiring spirits creating headwinds in the tech sector.
Reasons for continued hiring
Hong Kong (finally) opened up fully after COVID restrictions. Growth in the tech sector has been one of the key mandates for the leaders in Hong Kong. This has resulted in the region issuing special passes for talented and high-earning individuals. We have had many applications from candidates wanting to move to Hong Kong to work there.
Singapore has been wooing techies for a while already but it has always been harder to find strong candidates in Singapore as the tech market is quite small and companies tend to place a high degree of emphasis on hiring local candidates instead of foreigners.
Specific Skill-sets in demand in Hong Kong
It was slower in January but picked up enormous steam from February onwards. C++/Java Developers were most in demand followed by DevOps (Python) and Cloud SRE (AKS/EKS) engineers as banks have been leveraging modern technologies and moving to an SRE DevOps model.
Data Engineering and Data Scientists across various industries including Insurance, Banking, and Commerce were also in demand. Businesses are expecting more robust Data Analytics and AI/Machine Learning ability to provide advanced analytics from raw data.
We saw a growing demand for Business Analysts and Project Managers. There are a number of transformation, and migration projects ongoing across the FSI and insurance industries. CIOs have been obtaining budgets and approvals from last year's Q4 on project initiatives resulting in hiring picking up in this space during Q1.
Specific Skill-sets in demand in Singapore
Within the Investment Banking/Capital Markets sector, there is still a high demand for Java/C++ developers. As the Singapore currency remains strong, many banks and trading firms have been growing their FX business and adding Java/C++ developers to their teams.
There is still expansion within the infrastructure space. Typically, automation is sought quite actively making key skills such as Python, Ansible/Salt/Puppet/Chef a requirement for Investment Banks, Hedge Funds, and trading firms.
Although many banks have already started their digital/technology transformation journey years ago (many are now in the BAU/RTB stage), there are still some banks that are only starting to realize the need for transformation within their IT teams.
Other interesting bits of information
We read that the new upcoming place for hiring within finance technology could be Sydney. In the past, our clients have hired in Sydney but it has never been as prominent as Hong Kong or Singapore. It will be interesting to see if this will change.
Despite all the chaos in the Crypto Space, it was interesting to see DBS opening a Crypto Desk in Hong Kong.
Hiring during Q2 is expected to be much stronger as per this article which states that “Forty-five percent of Hong Kong employers are looking to hire in the next three months”.
We hope you find this information useful.
Vince Natteri, Managing Director
(on behalf of the Pinpoint Asia Recruitment Team)