Fewer IT jobs in Asia this quarter

At least one-fifth of region's IT and telecoms firms--and as high as 43 percent in Hong Kong--are set to reduce their hiring activities, finds new Hudson survey.
Written by Vivian Yeo, Contributor

While the IT and telecoms (IT&T) sector in Asia will still dish out job offers to candidates in the second quarter of 2009, these companies have indicated plans to cut back on their hiring plans.

Released Thursday, the latest report from executive recruiter Hudson, hinted at fewer new hires for at least 20 percent of businesses in the region's IT&T sector between April and June. The findings come from forward-looking surveys polled in February with nearly 3,000 key employment decision makers in China, Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore. Hudson conducts such studies on a quarterly basis.

Of the four markets, Hong Kong was the hardest hit. Some 43 percent of IT&T companies surveyed--the highest across all industries--reported plans to reduce new headcount, while fewer companies are looking to increase their hiring. Just 6 percent of businesses in Hong Kong said they would recruit more aggressively this quarter, down from 20 percent in the first quarter of the year.

In China, 27 percent of IT&T companies indicated they would cut back on new hires, while 25 percent intended to increase their headcount. Hudson noted that the sector had been affected by the impact of the global economic crisis on auto makers and automotive parts suppliers.

The Japanese IT&T sector, on the other hand, is the country's most optimistic industry. At 31 percent, the tech sector had the highest number of companies looking to expand their workforce, just shy of the 35 percent in the first quarter. One in five IT&T companies indicated they would reduce their hiring activities.

Hiring expectations for Singapore's IT&T sector remained fairly constant, with 22 percent looking to bring in new hires this quarter. Over 20 percent of these companies, however, planned to cut back on new headcount, according to the report.

Across all industries, hiring expectations in Asia fell for the third straight quarter, with the financial services segment continuing to be most impacted by the downturn, said Hudson.

In addition, most respondents in Asia did not express a high level of confidence about their company's performance for the year, although respondents in China and Singapore were notably more optimistic than those in Hong Kong and Japan.

While reductions in new headcount were the most commonly-cited initiative in Asia to cut costs, organizations are also looking at decreasing bonus payouts, lowering salaries or enforcing unpaid or extended leave.

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