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2014 ECCT-Michael Page Salary & Employment Forecast for Taiwan

On 22 January, the 2014 ECCT-Michael Page Salary & Employment Forecast for Taiwan was released to the media at a press conference and to ECCT members at a Premium Event lunch held on the same day. The report was produced by Michael Page and released in association with the ECCT for the second consecutive year. The report presents an outlook for the domestic recruitment market in 2014. Anthony Thompson, Regional Managing Director of Page Group, Greater China and Chris Preston, Director of Michael Page, Taiwan were on the panel at the press conference. Thompson presented a summary of the report's main findings at both the press conference and lunch while the lunch also featured an economic outlook presentation by Standard Chartered Bank Taiwan Economist Tony Phoo.

According to the report, a positive business outlook coupled with increased tourism from China will generate strong recruitment activity in Taiwan in 2014, and this is expected to have a further impact on the persisting skills shortage as Taiwanese professionals continue to reside and work outside of Taiwan.

According to the report, almost half (48%) of the employers surveyed are confident that hiring activity in 2014 will be on the upswing as Taiwan benefits from increased tourism activity and buoyant economic conditions. In addition to the retail industry, support service roles and back office functions can also expect to experience increases in recruitment activity.

The rise in tourism activity from Mainland China will continue to drive the retail industry, creating a healthy flow of jobs and opportunities for professionals with retail and marketing expertise, according to Chris Preston. "Concurrent to the spike in retail hiring activity, companies will also be looking to develop and bolster the size of their sales teams, creating added activity in the recruitment landscape," Preston said.

In addition to increased tourism activity from China, the strong flow of hiring activity will be due to the stabilising global economy. Another factor having an impact on the local market to a certain degree is the so-called "re-domestication", referring to Taiwanese firms who are shifting some of their investments in mainland China to Taiwan.

With only 38% of surveyed employers expecting staff turnover in the next 12 months, demonstrating a display of strong company loyalty across the Taiwanese workforce, employment opportunities are likely to take the form of new roles rather than replacement roles. Anthony Thompson noted that employers in Hong Kong and China expect comparatively more staff turnover than their counterparts in Taiwan, indicating that level of employee loyalty in Taiwan is stronger than in Hong Kong and China.

Key motivating factors that employers think would drive jobseekers to shop around include opportunities to learn (26%) and better work-life balance (21%), and employers are recognising that an increasing emphasis needs to be placed on effective talent management strategies to attract and retain employees.

Employers have also indicated that with the persisting trend of Taiwanese professionals continuing to work outside the country, mainly China, many (41%) are bracing for an extended skills shortage across most professional job types. However, many employers have learnt from the past year and are prepared, with the majority (67%) acknowledging the resulting need to develop more targeted attraction strategies.

"Although employee loyalty is predicted to be strong across the Taiwanese workforce in 2014, employers are recognising the increasing need to communicate the potential of international career opportunities when looking to attract and retain professionals," according to Preston.

The top factor for talent attraction and retention as recognised by employers remains remuneration, with more than three quarters (76%) of employers indicating that salary increases could be expected for all their staff. However, 71% will base increases according to performance. In addition, the top three influencing factors having an impact on salary levels are domestic economic conditions (70%), global economic conditions (48%) and competition with other companies (46%).

In his presentation at the lunch, Tony Phoo said that Standard Chartered Bank expects Taiwan's economy to continue to post steady GDP growth of 3.9% in 2014 thanks to improvements in exports to the United States and Europe and rising consumer confidence. On the back of this, he expects both the manufacturing and service sectors to increase hiring, which will result in a drop in unemployment to below 4%. The low unemployment rate and consequent shortage of labour is likely to drive salaries higher, according to Phoo. Phoo concluded that the short-term outlook is good but, over the long term, Taiwan still needs to shift from what he calls the "middle man" producer to a new and higher value growth model.

Michael Page, part of PageGroup, is a worldwide leader in specialist recruitment operating in 153 offices in 34 countries, including Taiwan since 2012. The Michael Page Salary & Employment Forecast is a key recruitment industry report that has been released annually in a number of Asia Pacific countries for more than five years. The report is based on both quantitative and qualitative research, with findings derived via a survey of employers and insights obtained through the business's significant involvement in the professional employment market. The report is currently produced for Taiwan, China, Hong Kong, Singapore, India, Australia and New Zealand.