The Asian Employment Market Outlook for 2022
Over the past two years the Asian economy has taken a pandemic pummelling, with recovery now delayed because of the Omicron variant. Amidst all the uncertainty, what’s in store for the Asian employment market in 2022?
“Do you want the good news; or the bad news?” it’s an appropriate question with regard to employment in Asia in 2022, because the news is mixed and even somewhat unpredictable.
So let’s start with the good news.
Tech jobs to grow in 2022
The APAC region’s economy has traditionally had a high proportion of industries which require physical presence. Manufacturing and agriculture are just two examples.
However, as the pandemic forced everyone to stay at home, businesses across a range of verticals had to transition quickly into remote working arrangements.
They also had to scale up their online services and automate wherever possible. All these factors combined to create a huge demand for Techies across a range of industry sectors. Forbes recently listed information technology as the world’s second largest growing employment field overall, after healthcare, for 2022.(1) In Southeast Asia, LinkedIn found that the top three fastest growing job categories for 2021 were digital content, data analysis, and software technology.(2)
Over the next decade, employment in computer and information technology jobs is projected to grow 13 percent from 2020 to 2030, faster than the average for all occupations. (3)
And a 2022 Digital Talent Insight Report even estimates a shortage of 47 million tech talent in the Asia-Pacific region by 2030. (4)
So some good times ahead if you’re a Techie anywhere in Asia.
But there’s been a heavy employment downside to the pandemic too, of course.
Asia’s Tourism Industry Collapse has cost millions of jobs
The collapse of tourism due to the pandemic wiped out 1.6 million jobs in five Asian countries alone last year, according to a recent International Labour Organization (ILO) report. (5)
The Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, Brunei and Mongolia saw almost one-third of all job losses occur in the tourism sector. (6)
The ILO now forecasts unemployment in Asia will fall to 4.7% in 2022. All things considered this is not a bad figure, although still slightly above the 2019 level of 4.4%. (7)
Across a range of Asian economies, the news is sobering however.
China down but not out
Amidst an Omicron scare and heightened global tensions, China looks set to keep its borders closed to the rest of the world through 2022. Combined with COVID-19 measures that will continue to depress consumption, economic growth looks set to fall to 5-6%, according to most forecasters, down from 8% in 2021. (8)
Japan to hasten slowly on employment front
Japan’s economic rebound to be tempered by caution
With a new prime minister, Fumio Kishida, at the helm, Japan will see an economic rebound in 2022.
The country’s new prime minister is focused on reviving the economy from its COVID-19 downturn. Stimulating growth in 2022 will be a ¥56 trillion ($490 billion) stimulus package announced in November 2021, with more funding for everything from semiconductor manufacturing and rural digitization to households and travel subsidies.
However, Japan today has a reputation for caution. So, while growth should rise to 3.4% in 2022, up from 1.8% in 2021, it looks set to drop back to just 1.1% in 2023. (9)
Singapore employment set to rebound
Singapore’s reopening should attract foreign firms and stimulate a pandemic-bound economy.
Singapore topped the IMD’s World competitive rankings in 2019 and 2020, but fell to fifth place in 2021, largely due to the pandemic. (10)
With the pandemic likely to cause further supply chain disruptions and to restrict travel and tourism, the government is forecasting economic growth of just 3-5% in 2022, down from around 7% in 2021. (11)
However, a high 88% vaccination rate should allow the government to ease domestic and border pandemic restrictions throughout 2022.
India’s recovery to be fueled by consumption
After seeing its economy shrink more than 7% during the 2020-21 fiscal year (running from April to March), India is recovering lost ground; with the Reserve Bank of India expecting 9.5% growth for 2021-22 and a consensus forecast of around 7.5% for 2022-23. (12)
With the vaccination rate set to rise strongly, and household spending returning apace to pre-pandemic levels, consumption will be the main driver for the economy and a stimulus for employment.
Malaysia will further embrace digitalization
Experts say that Malaysia will outperform the rest of Southeast Asia in 2022, with GDP growing around 6% driven by consumer demand as the economy opens up again. (13)
Beyond these statistics, COVID has played a major role in reshaping employment and the world of work in Asia, with the last two years seeing many embrace new ways of working.
New ways of working become mainstream across the region
In Asia and all over the world, hybrid and remote working are now accepted business practices, with almost every company reinventing ‘where to work’ and ‘how’. With hybrid work now becoming the ‘new norm’ and deskless workers making up almost 70% of the global workforce, companies are beginning to focus on new technology tools that give workers even more flexibility.
Thus, one of the biggest work trends in Asia 2022 will be better virtual tools and the coming of the ‘metaverse’, which will further transform hybrid work, onboarding, training, collaboration, meetings, and, of course, entertainment and commerce. Watch this space!
Like to know more about the Asian employment market? Or are you thinking of taking on new staff in 2022 and need some advice and guidance? Then don’t hesitate to contact CXC Global. CXC are the experts on Asian labour laws and all aspects of workforce recruitment, hiring and management throughout the region.