SE Asian firms eye ‘future-proof workforce’ with hybrid skillsets

Companies are stepping up efforts to build a resilient workforce for tomorrow, ready for an increasingly digital landscape, according to recruitment firm Robert Walters.

Results of the latest release of their annual Salary Survey suggests healthy hiring activities in Southeast Asian markets, including Singapore, with limited impact expected from international events.

Professionals with hybrid skillsets and well-rounded “glocal” professionals across all industries will be in high demand.

The overall outlook for the region remains buoyant. Hiring activities in markets including Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam saw high growth, while Malaysia and Singapore showed steady growth signs with robust activity in technology.

Companies are seeing experienced technology professionals with hybrid skillsets, as well as professionals who are able to leverage new technology within their work to position the business for growth, in industries such as human resources and finance.

There is a strong demand for risk and compliance professionals, as well as risk, compliance and legal talent with specialist knowledge in technology as regulatory requirements and guidelines evolve alongside digitalisation.

With a healthy growth in manufacturing in Thailand and Vietnam, as well as the US-China trade war which saw manufacturers and electronics companies move production lines to Southeast Asia, there is a shortage of professionals within the industry across key functions — such as human resources, accounting and finance, engineering, supply chain and procurement and logistics.

On a broader level, well-rounded talent with strong expertise in their own field, the ability to leverage new technologies to drive efficiencies in their own work and commercial mindset, are heavily sought-after.

Forward-thinking employers are starting to emphasise potential and transferrable skillsets, over market sector experience, right from the hiring stage. Glocal talent, who have a good understanding of both global and local cultures and mindsets, are seeing increasing demand.

Hiring managers are advised to be flexible and empathetic towards what today’s candidates are looking for. Current job seekers are more likely to prioritise learning opportunities, continual challenge and variety, as well as strong, inspirational leadership, over traditional factors such as long-term career progression and stability.