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IT boom driving candidate hungry Honkers

Job opps galore out East, but you may have to do the talking

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Ex-pat IT professionals looking to kick start the new year with a new career in a far-flung destination could do worse than Hong Kong or Singapore, where the tech sector is short of job candidates and is snapping up new recruits, according to international agency Hudson.

The recruiter‘s Employment Trends report for Q1 2013 revealed that IT&T is the “shining star” when it comes to hiring expectations in the two nations, according to Hudson’s Hong Kong general manager, Tony Pownell.

In Singapore, the number of respondents in this sector intending to hire more staff leapt 30 per cent to stand at 53 per cent, while in Hong Kong the figure jumped 11 points to 62.5 per cent.

“There’s a real appetite to invest in technology rather than people to improve efficiencies and do things smarter, therefore the market for companies that service these products is improving,” he told The Reg.

Expansion by international software, services and telecoms firms in the region is also driving much of the spike in recruitment, according to Candy Ho, IT consultant at Hudson Hong Kong.

“There’s no substantial expansion by local, Chinese or Taiwanese companies but international firms – especially in business applications and cloud – are having a more positive outlook,” she told The Reg.

“In particular there are a lot of medium sized but international companies stepping into APAC – either Hong Kong or Singapore – who have launched an HQ and are now expanding.”

The spike in roles at international firms doesn’t necessarily mean there will be more jobs for ex-pat IT pros, she cautioned, however they may have a natural advantage in areas like cloud computing, Big Data, CRM and analytics where the market in the UK and Australasia is more mature.

IT job-seekers fresh off the boat won't find everything is easy. Hudson’s Salary & Employment Insights 2013 report, previewed on Tuesday, revealed that large numbers of good candidates are dropping out of the recruitment process, sometimes after signing contracts.

A big part of the problem is lengthy hiring processes, lack of communication and too little transparency on salary and benefits, explained Pownall.

“Employers tend to take a clinical, one-sided approach to recruitment – they spend a long time wooing customers but don’t spend enough time building a psychological contract with the next great hire, so people fall back to negotiating on salary,” he said.

“Employees from other markets need to remember that over here it can feel like things move slower, so they’ll have to drive the process more. And don’t worry if you’ve not heard back for two or three weeks.” ®

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