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Employers in Asia post fewer IT jobs

Tech job advertisements in China, Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore dropped during the last quarter of 2008 with decline sharpest in Hong Kong, finds new job index.

Employers in Asia are placing fewer job postings, a new report has found.

Released Tuesday, the Robert Walters Asia Job Index for Q4 2008 tracked the advertisement volumes for professional positions placed in print and online in China, Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore, between October and November last year.

IT job advertisements in Hong Kong recorded the largest shift, falling 37.6 percent during the fourth quarter. Singapore registered a drop of 35.9 percent, while China dipped 20.1 percent. Over in Japan, job postings for IT professionals, which include IT supervisors, managers, programmers and database administrators, fell 27.1 percent.

Among the four markets, Singapore recorded the highest average drop--43.7 percent--in job advertisements across various sectors. Among the worst-hit sectors were: customer or account servicing (52.9 percent), merchandising and purchasing (51.5 percent), and administration and clerical (51.1 percent).

According to Robert Walters, employers in Singapore and Hong Kong are mainly focusing on sales-related hires. However, an emphasis on financial regulations also drove demand for compliance and audit specialists in the country. Public sector infrastructure roles were also sought by the Singapore government.

In Hong Kong, editor and reporter positions saw a decrease in job postings of 56.5 percent, while human resources, and administration and clerical, saw 48.4 percent decline in job placements. The overall average drop by sector stood at 38.2 percent.

China recorded the lowest average decline in job advertisements by sector, at 10.1 percent. Only one other industry fared worse than the IT sector in job placements--operations and logistics, which saw a decline of 24.5 percent. Engineer and technician positions, on the other hand, jumped significantly (40.9 percent).

Over in Japan, creative skills in such areas as online marketing and Web design remained in demand, leading to a less pronounced rate of decline, said Robert Walters.