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Jump in Asia Pacific demand for IT contractors

Ross O. Storey | Feb. 26, 2009
Robert Walters says IT services and outsourcing providers are expanding, driven by more government contracts.

Andrea Ross, managing director of Robert Walters Singapore

SINGAPORE, 26 FEBRUARY 2009 - Hong Kong suffered the biggest fall in the number of job advertisements for information technology (IT) supervisor-manager and programmer positions in the fourth quarter of 2008, according to international recruitment consultancy Robert Walters, in its newly-released Asia Job Index.

The number of jobs placed for these IT-related positions in Hong Kong, fell by nearly 38 per cent from October to December 2008, although the report notes that areas where there is still evidence of activity, albeit at a reduced rate, are IT and accounting, which are still seen as business critical.

There is a continuing need for personnel to fill compliance and audit functions, whilst cost-saving initiatives are increasingly reliant on new forms of technology, the Robert Walters Asia Job Index stated. The Asia Job Index, launched last year, tracks ad volumes for professional positions across the leading job boards and national newspapers in Singapore, Hong Kong, China, and Japan.

In Singapore, the fall in IT job ads for the period was nearly 36 per cent. The reports said that one area that has held up quite strongly has been public sector work, especially within infrastructure, where there has been a drive by the Singapore government to support the local economy.

Andrea Ross, managing director of Robert Walters Singapore, said: There will be minimal increase in salaries for key/critical positions, whilst non-critical roles will likely remain static. As headcount is expected to be tight across all sectors, more organisations will be focusing on improvement in technology and reengineering processes to improve efficiency and productivity.

Malaysia bucks the banking trend

Malaysia bucked the trend by showing a continuing demand for banking professionals. Robert Walters related Global Salary Survey 2009, now in its 10th year, also released today, said that banking is still hiring in Malaysia and there is more demand for professionals in shared services and outsourced operations, especially in IT and finance.

The report noted that: Strong demand remains for sales and business development professionals with specific product, technical or industry knowledge in IT, fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) and the oil and gas sectors.

Robert Walters related Global Salary Survey 2009, also released today, stated that: Another notable trend that has emerged from the economic downturn is the increased demand for contractors, particularly within the banking and IT sectors, where many permanent roles are now offered on a contract basis as employers, unable to increase permanent headcount, look to flexible solutions to fulfill resourcing needs, the report said.

Demand for IT contractors increased as organisations utilised flexible headcount on projects whilst waiting for permanent headcount approval. Permanent hires are, however, still being made for business critical projects, the Global Salary Survey stated.


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