The Morgan McKinley Asia Pacific Monitor has been published, showing permanent financial services jobs decreasing in the region by two per cent, quarter-on-quarter, but increasing by 10 per cent year-on- year. Professionals seeking new jobs decreased by 33 per cent quarter-on- quarter and by six per cent year-on-year while contracting jobs decreased by 20 per cent quarter-on- quarter, and increased by 26 per cent year-on-year.
In a quarter marked by contrasts–ranging from a 26 per cent increase in jobs in Australia to a 22 per cent jobs decrease in Singapore, quarter-on-quarter – the Asia Pacific Region is a mixture of good, bad, and unremarkable performances.
“The ongoing economic and political instability both regionally and globally has caused countries to choose diverging paths, making for highly divergent outcomes,” said Richie Holliday, chief operations officer, Morgan McKinley Asia Pacific.
Year-on-year permanent jobs available in the region were up 10 per cent, and down by a minimal two per cent, quarter-on-quarter. Contractor figures were down a more concerning 20 per cent quarter-on-quarter, but up by a hefty 26 per cent year-on-year. “Overall, there are more jobs available now than this time last year, but the unevenness of the growth has left some countries lagging behind others,” said Holliday.
Singapore in particular showed poor performance in Q2, causing concerns about its status as a financial services hub. A 51 per cent decrease in candidates quarter-on-quarter indicates a gargantuan shift in the job seeker market there, as ex-pat and overseas-based (i.e. non Singaporean Employment Pass holder) individuals lose interest in a market they know they are unlikely to gain a visa to enter.
In addition to the regional ones, China is facing its own domestic contradictions. Seemingly teetering on the cusp of economic calamity, it again defied expectations as it reported 6.9 per cent year-on-year growth in Q2. “Though China’s Q2 growth will allay some investor anxieties, fear of a series of bubbles is growing and resulting in more “wait-and-see anxiety” than the country can perhaps afford, long term,” said Holliday.
Japan and Australia were the only countries to see growth in job seekers, which were regionally up by 11 per cent and 18 per cent quarter-on-quarter, respectively. As such, the region-wide figures are not alarming, as bonus season sets much of the H1 job seeker cycle, and candidates tend to register their interest in Q1. As Australia follows Singapore’s lead in pursuing restrictive immigration policies, the likelihood that the two will contribute to a dampening of regional job seeker figures is growing.
The region overall remains resilient, with the exception of Singapore which shows signs of being in a nascent slump. As with Europe and the United States, institutions and individuals alike are navigating a climate of high economic uncertainty. Hopes of capitalising on the political and economic precariousness of Europe and America were dashed by the Asia Pacific Region’s own political and economic uncertainties, as well as the global reticence of institutions to make bold business decisions until the regulatory skies have cleared.