A quick recap of 2020
All the grand hiring plans made by our clients for 2020 had to be temporarily put on hold around Feb 2020 as COVID began to evolve from a distant news item into a pandemic. This slowdown in tech hiring was (thankfully) quite short-lived. The companies that were the quickest to resume hiring were the ones that had the infrastructure already set up to allow working from home.
Contracting hiring picked up pace from around March 2020 – June 2020 as our clients were more cautious about getting permanent headcount approved but the demand for IT personnel did not attenuate despite the pandemic. On the contrary, IT staff were needed to facilitate this transition of working from home and balancing the needs of productivity while maintaining good security.
Permanent headcount and hiring started to pick up around the August timeframe and has continued to gather steam. There was a seasonal slowdown during the December period as candidates tend to wait for bonuses that are typically paid out during Jan/Feb of the following year.
Overview of the sectors we cover
Finance Technology was the quickest to recover from the slowdown in hiring. Banks/hedge funds have been making money from the volatility in the markets and have been hiring. Some of the banks have had one of their biggest years in the history of their operation.
A lot of the hiring has been happening in the equities space (low latency development: C++/Java). Other roles in high demand were in the areas of DevOps, SRE, and Platform engineers. Virtual Banks have also been hiring quite a lot.
Infrastructure hiring (mainly in the Cloud space) was hot but after the US Sanctions on Hong Kong, a lot of these infrastructure roles with US companies started moving to Singapore. Still, however, several companies have been leasing space in Hong Kong to set up data centers.
Given Hong Kong’s political woes this year, several of our clients were also hiring in Singapore to keep a presence in two different jurisdictions. However, the difficulty in bringing on foreign talent into Singapore has dissuaded several companies from expanding rapidly in Singapore (sponsoring visas in Singapore has proved to be hugely daunting for many companies).
Insurance Technology remained strong and promising during this COVID year. AIA and Prudential even reached their highest ever Historical Stock Price. FWD is planning on an IPO.
We received a lot of hiring mandates this year, especially across the Cloud, Digital, and DevOps areas. COVID did not slow down their transformation plan; instead, it sped up Digital Transformation in order to help insurance agents and companies contact their clients through electronic means. Hiring involved both Permanent and Contract roles depending on headcount availability and urgency of the roles.
Insurance firms have also been investing more in technology to build Cloud-based platforms. Roles relating to SRE, DevOps, Platforms engineers have been increasing in demand. In addition to that, roles in the areas of Mobile, Microservices, and API have also been hot in the InsurTech space.
These firms haven’t just been hiring from their competitors, but also from other industries with a preference across banking, financial services, and consultancy firms.
We started giving our Social Media presence a bit of a boost this year. Our Principal Consultant Matthew Chung now offers tips and advice to candidates on our YouTube channel to help them prepare and do well during interviews.
We spoke to Sarah Johnson (Deputy Chief Product Officer of PwC’s New Ventures) about her interesting and inspiring career trajectory. Give it a listen and please do let us know what you think!
We hope you found this information useful. Please do contact us should you need more information.
(on behalf of the Pinpoint Asia Recruitment Team)