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Robert Walters 2023 Salary Survey launch

The digital Salary Survey 2023 was released by Robert Walters in cooperation with the ECCT at a Premium Event lunch. Read the press release.

Please refer to this link for the presentation: Robert Walters 2023 Salary Survey

At the event, John Winter, Country Manager of Robert Walters Taiwan, gave a presentation summarising the main findings of the survey. He said that the Taiwan job market has been robust over the last two years due to the global tech talent shortage but in 2023 the market will be facing uncertainties amidst waning export demand, a possible recession and geopolitical tension but will still remain short of candidates. Companies are expected to face challenges in hiring quality candidates and building a sustainable workforce post-pandemic.

Speaking about the trends in Asia, in China, there has been a huge increase in demand for legal & compliance talent due to the Chinese Personal Information Protection Law (PIPL), rapid growth in cybersecurity, more demand for inter-disciplinary talent and high demand for tech & transformation, healthcare and life sciences specialists. Hong Kong has seen a resumption of economic activities since borders were reopened, which has led to contract hiring increases and a surge in demand for ESG related roles. However, talent is in short supply and more regional roles have moved overseas. In South East Asia, there has been increased hiring demand in shared services centres across functions in Malaysia and The Philippines as well as from increased footprints of manufacturing companies in those countries as well as Vietnam.

In Taiwan, although there has been a slow-down in manufacturing industries, there is active hiring in certain segments. In hardware, there is demand for talent in electric vehicles, power storage systems, cameras, IoT, smart homes and wearable devices. The software sector saw the highest rate of job growth in 2022 (a 25% increase in job openings and a 20% increase in jobs in cybersecurity) but has seen a market correction over the last six months and candidates have become more conservative about switching jobs and favouring established companies over start-ups. The semiconductor sector has also cooled down but there is still strong demand for talent related to the automotive industry and data centres.

Winter noted that candidates want hybrid working options and it is very difficult to find candidates who are willing to work for companies that do not provide flexible working arrangements. The same demand for flexibility also applies to the healthcare sector where there is demand for sales professionals with medical science knowledge and for talent with a strong understanding of medical policies, expertise in specialty drugs, especially oncology drugs. The Fast Moving Consumer Goods and retail sector has seen headcount increase in the past two years as the trend towards digitalisation continues. Candidates returning from overseas are sought after.

In terms of salary increments, software and IT tech professionals can expect a 15-25% bump in salaries when they switch jobs, while tech hardware and semiconductor experts can expect 15-20% and 10-20% increments, respectively. In other sectors, accounting and finance, healthcare, HR, sales and marketing and supply chain experts can expect increments of 12-15%, 10-20%, 10-15%, 15-20% and 15-20%, respectively.

Looking at overall post-pandemic trends, salaries and benefits have risen, candidates have the upper hand given the talent shortage due to factors such as people taking early retirement during the pandemic. There has been an increased awareness of work-life balance and hybrid working has become a norm. At the same time, many companies are pushing back against hybrid working (some are insisting that employees come back to the office). The tech sector is laying off workers while facing the challenges of increasing inflation, higher interest rates, the prospect of a global recession and ongoing geopolitical risks. Yet, finding the right talent remains the biggest challenge. According to the survey, 76% of respondents say they are concerned about the lack of supply of quality candidates, 60% say that salary and expectations are too high while 59% cite high competition for candidates.

Employers are now paying less attention to candidates’ official qualifications and instead focusing on their actual skills. However, some are still stuck in the traditional mindset. For example, 88% of hirers are filtering out highly skilled candidates because they lack traditional credentials, such as university degrees. A different review process will be needed to assess skills. It would benefit employers to change their search and testing protocols and have a varied panel of reviewers who can provide alternative perspectives on how to evaluate candidates and have a bigger candidate pool in the first round of interviews.

The debate on hybrid working has not yet been settled. In terms of diversity and inclusion, there are deep divisions between types of work, proximity bias, presenteeism, training and onboarding issues. Then there are data security issues from remote working as well as ethical questions about monitoring employees’ productivity and remuneration challenges (should wages be adjusted based on location?). Remote working has also increased cases of burnout. In terms of employment law, issues to deal with include how to account for overtime, health and safety, expenses for at home equipment. It is also not yet settled how productivity is affected by remote work or how to maintain cross departmental collaborations.

Obviously, there is no one size fits all solution to addressing these challenges for every company, but Winter offered some advice. He said that for those employers who want employees to be in the office, they need to make sure that their physical office space is attractive in order to give employees a good reason to want to be in the office. This means meeting diverse needs with the right technology and a variety of spaces to fit the activity (both private and shared work, meeting and leisure spaces), while small incentives (like offering free drinks and snacks) will help to persuade employees to want to spend more time in the office. Employers would also do well to listen to their employees and implement good suggestions they make for improvements.