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2017 Taiwan Salary & Employment Outlook report launch

The Michael Page 2017 Taiwan Salary & Employment Outlook report was released at an ECCT Premium Event lunch. At the event Andy Bentote, Senior Managing Director of Michael Page, Greater China presented an introduction to the highlights of the report. Also at the event, Tony Phoo, Senior Economist from Standard Chartered Bank in Taiwan gave a presentation on the bank's forecasts and sentiment for 2017 in Taiwan, the implications for the wider economy and the impact this will have on business. After the lunch, the report was released at a press conference, which was attended by journalists from print, television and digital media groups.

The report, presented in association with the ECCT for the fifth consecutive year, covers an outlook of the regional and domestic recruitment market in 2017 across a full range of sectors including technology, healthcare and e-commerce. The annual report is a key recruitment industry report in Asia and has become a valuable source of information for both employers and jobseekers. The report is based on analysis of responses from over 3,400 employers across Asia (China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia) who took part in the 2017 Michael Page Asia Salary and Employment Outlook survey as well as qualitative roundtables conducted with employers from various industries across Asia. The report features insights into employment conditions, key employment skills in demand, sector trends and benchmarks from employers across the regions and the Michael Page senior leadership team.

Using the weather as metaphor, Bentote described the outlook for the Greater China region as very similar to last year's partly cloudy with sunny spells, although slightly more cloudy this year. He attributed this outlook to the larger degree of global geopolitical uncertainty this year in the wake of the UK's Brexit decision and the new US president, among other developments. Nevertheless, he said there are bright spots in the form of fast-expanding areas such as the healthcare, technology and digital sectors, which he said will continue to drive hiring growth in Taiwan.

According to the report, strong growth in the technology and digital sectors is the result of continued investment in e-commerce, software development and mobile technology across the region. The semiconductor industry is also expected to remain the driving force behind Taiwan's vital electronics sector. In addition, given Taiwan's aging population and the government's push to attract investment in the healthcare sector, professionals will see increased opportunities across a range of functions. Moreover, finance, human resources, marketing, procurement, supply chain and sales professionals will be in demand to support robust growth within the healthcare industry. For example, Bentote said that there is strong demand for HR professionals who can "strategise and implement robust talent attraction and retention plans". HR professionals who have experience in the healthcare, e-commerce and IT (software) sectors are especially sought after. Another sector that should see growth is renewable energy, following the government's commitment to increase the proportion of renewable energy to 20% of Taiwan's capacity by 2025.

According to the report's findings, almost half of employers (45%) in Taiwan expect headcount to stay the same over the next 12 months while another 46% said they expected to increase headcount in 2017, of which 58% say their organisations are actively seeking mid-level employees. Only 9% of employers are expected to reduce headcount in 2017. While the number of employers in Taiwan planning to increase headcount was on a par with the Asia average, the number was down slightly from the previous year's 53%.

In terms of salary increases, 70% of employers in Taiwan plan to offer increases of between 1% and 5% while 14% of them plan to offer increases of 6-10%. In addition, companies are turning to non-financial initiatives to attract and retain talent. Creating clear career progression paths was cited by almost three quarters (73%) of companies who took part in the survey as the top talent retention strategy in Taiwan, followed by salary increases and learning development. However, Bentote recommended that companies also consider other areas such as workplace flexibility and work-life balance and potential overseas career opportunities. According to Bentote, offering employees overseas assignments would help to elevate their professional and personal development, which should act as a powerful retention strategy.

Another employment trend gaining traction is the increasing support for diversity and inclusion (D&I) policies among organisations. More than 98% of those surveyed are committed to diversity in the workplace with more than half (51%) citing gender diversity as the key focus of their initiatives.

In his summary message for job seekers, Bentote noted that while there are good opportunities, the market is competitive. Job seekers will therefore need to be focused, committed, and well-prepared for interviews. In addition, due to continued market uncertainty, they should expect timelines for hiring decisions to be slightly longer than before. In addition, since most businesses' offer modest salary increases, they should consider non-financial benefits when making their decisions.

In his summary message for employers, Bentote reiterated a point made in previous years that there are still well-qualified candidates available in Taiwan, even though some have been lured by lucrative packages overseas. However, many of those already employed may be reluctant to switch jobs in the uncertain environment. In order to attract the best candidates, the employer's recruitment process and offering need to be efficient and compelling. In addition to talent acquisition, companies should also focus on effective talent retention strategies and develop non-financial incentives to remain competitive with acquisition and retention.