What Jobseekers Wish Employers Knew: Unlocking the Future of Recruitment

1 in 3 people in Southeast Asia & Hong Kong are looking for a new job; 2023 remains a jobseekers’ market

  • New study by SEEK’s JobStreet and JobsDB, the Boston Consulting Group and The Network reveals that 70% of talent in Southeast Asia and Hong Kong believe they have strong negotiation power.
  • 3 in 4 respondents in the region are approached multiple times per year about job opportunities; 36% of all talent are approached every month.
  • Among active jobseekers, 49% state they are looking for a more interesting position or higher seniority, while 30% cite lack of career progression opportunity as a push factor.
Singapore, 1 March 2023 – Despite a possible economic slowdown, 2023 remains to be a jobseekers’ market in Southeast Asia and Hong Kong, according to SEEK, the parent company of Asia’s leading online employment marketplaces JobStreet and JobsDB. This is backed by findings from a new study, titled “What Jobseekers Wish Employers Knew: Unlocking the Future of Recruitment”, released today by SEEK, the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and The Network, a global alliance of recruitment websites which SEEK’s JobStreet and JobsDB are a part of.
The study – which surveyed 97,324 respondents in Indonesia, Hong Kong, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand – found that 34% of talent surveyed are actively looking for a new job. The top three motivations for searching for a new job are: looking for a more interesting position or higher seniority (49%), lacking opportunities for upward career progress at current place (30%) and unsatisfied with salary and benefits at current job (27%).
Talent feel confident to look out for new opportunities despite fears of recession as majority surveyed are aware of their attractiveness to employers. In fact, the study found that 74% of talent around the region are approached multiple times per year about new job opportunities — and 36% of those are approached every month. In Singapore, these numbers are equally high at 75% and 31% respectively. In addition, 70% of the region’s respondents and 62% of Singaporeans feel that they are in a strong negotiating position when looking for a job.
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.”
The survey also reveals that those working in IT roles are the most coveted talent across Indonesia, Hong Kong, Malaysia, the Philippines and Singapore, as they are frequently approached with job opportunities on a weekly and monthly basis.
“Despite the waves of layoffs by tech companies in the region and around the world, the demand for tech talent still remains based on the report’s findings. This is consistent with SEEK’s observation of a 29% YoY (2021 vs 2022) increase in job ads for tech roles in the region, based on data from our JobStreet and JobsDB platforms,” added Bithos.

Talent’s Top Priorities

Most respondents (71%) to the survey in Southeast Asia and Hong Kong said that they desire, above all, a stable job with a good work-life balance. This preference is dominant across job roles, countries, and age groups.
This is in line with jobseekers’ deal breakers when looking for a new role, with 17% citing work-life balance as a deal breaker, ranking second only after financial compensation (22%). The amount of paid time off and job security is also important to jobseekers, with both categories ranking third.
Sagar Goel, Partner and Associate Director at BCG, commented, “People’s expectations towards work have changed radically in the past few years. Most jobseekers don’t want to live to work anymore – they want to work to live. Employers must understand that while a high salary may be a way to raise the attention of in-demand talent, money is not enough to retain them on the long run. A culture that supports work-life balance, allows for flexibility, and emphasises good workplace relationships is equally important.”
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.”

Ideal Hiring Journey

The survey also debunked and proved several recruitment myths and gave insight into what jobseekers want in their recruitment journey, for instance:
  • A smooth and timely process is the number one way for an employer to stand out during recruitment (67%), as 49% would refuse an attractive job offer if they face a negative experience.
  • Recruitment platforms are the top channel used when applying for a job. Meanwhile, the best way to raise interest when someone is not looking for a job comes from a recommendation by a friend. Once they are interested, most will look for further information through social media and company websites.
  • ​​​Advanced digital tools are not favoured even among the young generation. Many prefer to see personal interactions during the recruitment process, with only 24% stating they would be comfortable participating in an AI-led automated interview.
The report also provided recommendations on how employers can improve the recruitment process and the total offer to candidates, including: how to overcome their biases to increase their talent pool, calibrating their approach to different personas, getting culture fundamentals right, and more. 
For more information on the reports in Asia, they can be found here for Indonesia, Hong Kong, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.
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About SEEK in Asia
SEEK is a diverse group of companies, comprised of a strong portfolio of online employment, educational, commercial, and volunteer businesses. SEEK makes a positive contribution to people’s lives on a global scale. SEEK is listed on the Australian Securities Exchange, where it is a top 100 company. In Asia, SEEK operates the JobStreet and JobsDB brands, the region’s leading employment platforms and preferred destinations for candidates and hirers. SEEK attracts over 500 million visits a year across the six markets it operates in, namely Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.
About Boston Consulting Group (BCG)
Boston Consulting Group partners with leaders in business and society to tackle their most important challenges and capture their greatest opportunities. BCG was the pioneer in business strategy when it was founded in 1963. Today, we work closely with clients to embrace a transformational approach aimed at benefiting all stakeholders—empowering organizations to grow, build sustainable competitive advantage, and drive positive societal impact.
Our diverse, global teams bring deep industry and functional expertise and a range of perspectives that question the status quo and spark change. BCG delivers solutions through leading-edge management consulting, technology and design, and corporate and digital ventures. We work in a uniquely collaborative model across the firm and throughout all levels of the client organization, fueled by the goal of helping our clients thrive and enabling them to make the world a better place.
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