Career Hotspots for 2014: Part I – Singapore, UAE, Australia…

Career Hotspots for 2014: Part I – Singapore, UAE, Australia…

The Manpower Employment Outlook Survey released in December 2013 revealed a cautious yet positive approach to hiring in 2014. The Survey researched 65 thousand hiring managers in 42 countries and territories and found that 34 of these 42 countries expected to increase payrolls in the first quarter of the new year.

Optimistic Outlooks

The most optimistic outlooks came from employers in Singapore, Taiwan, India, New Zealand and Colombia, while several European countries had negative or weak outlooks. Turkish employers forecast the strongest pace of hiring and France is looking at modest payroll gains, even as hiring in Germany remains relatively stable. The weakest outlooks are reported in Italy, Ireland, Finland, Spain, Slovakia, and Belgium.

Across the world, Big Data, and the integration of technology with conventional functions like marketing and finance, are driving companies to offer opportunities to engage in new ventures and to develop new skill sets. Job rotation and lateral moves are becoming common, attracting even more skilled workers than before. For HR professionals, ability to work with numbers – specifically, data analysis – has gained in importance. This year, marketing and finance will adopt newer technologies, thus creating a huge jobs’ market for people with multi-level knowledge.

Against this backdrop, we’ve identified a few global career hotspots for 2014, keeping in mind the needs of the expat professional

1. Singapore

Asia continues to be a magnet for high performers from across the globe and, within Asia, Singapore is the top destination for expats. Consistently ranked among the best places to live and work, the country is in a unique situation where, to grow jobs for natives, they need a significant number of foreign workers to bring about growth. Hiring employees with in-depth understanding of regional and international markets is critical for companies looking to benefit from high value-added emerging sectors. As such, the tiny nation is set to offer good benefits and higher compensation to draw the right people, driving salaries upward.

Though the labour market here hadn’t exactly been on fire in 2013, overall unemployment dropped to just 1.8%. Today, employers are coming up with competitive hiring strategies to ensure they find, hire and reward the best talent.

Singapore is a regional hub for sectors like pharmaceuticals and healthcare which are on an upswing now, thanks to rapid growth in manufacturing facilities. Top employers are expressing concern over being able to find the right candidates for key positions such as those in strategy and innovation.

In 2014, Big Data skills and understanding of social media channels will be skills in demand. Specifically, companies are looking for professionals with experience of processing huge amounts of data to drive business and marketing opportunities. As such, IT project managers and business analysts involved in data manipulation projects with a track record of recognizing patterns in data, will have the upper hand.

Mobile app development skills are also hot, thanks to the growth in tablet-based and mobile applications. Professionals across domains such as marketing or finance will also be expected to possess technology integration skills, and multi-level hybrid knowledge will take you places. Digital marketing is another area of interest for Singaporean employers.

Contract jobs are becoming an acceptable way to deal with skills shortages, and candidates with second-language skills have an edge over those without.


Making the move to a new location such as Singapore requires a well thought out job hunt strategy. One of the best online professional networking and job hunting tools available to you is LinkedIn. Learn more by reading ‘How to Use LinkedIn For An International Job Hunt‘.


2. UAE

If you are in the UAE, you’re looking at an average salary increase of 5% this year. Continued confidence in the business environment and the desire to attract and retain talent are two factors responsible for this optimistic outlook, which is based on data gathered by Aon Hewitt from 500 organizations across the Middle East. High achievers – those that ‘far exceed expectations’ – will get hikes of ~7.2%.

Sectors in demand include everything from construction to transport to ICT, and beyond.

The UAE is one of the fastest-growing economies in the world. Nominal GDP in 2012 rose by ~21% to reach $360 billion, compared with $298 billion in 2011, and the country boasts rich resources in natural gas and petroleum, while also achieving growth in construction, transportation, ICT, and international trade.

In 2014, the economy is slated to grow 4%, as against a projected 3.5% last year. The preliminary results of the Euler Hermes International Trade Observatory said that, as a whole, GCC countries will grow 4.3% this year. The region has strong financial fundamentals such as current account surplus, fiscal balance and large foreign exchange reserves. With a stronghold on exporting oil, the Middle East benefits from this commercial and budgetary advantage. In the recent past, they have made great progress in infrastructure development and in achieving an improved business climate. With this, the country has diversified its economy, reducing its dependence on oil, from 47% of total GDP in 2000 to 33% in 2012.

Over time, the Emirates have invested heavily in infrastructure such as transport, connectivity and ICT. Last year, over 57 million visitors entered the UAE and by 2015, the country expects to have the world’s largest international airports in terms of footfall. With Dubai’s successful bid to host World Expo 2020, Bank of America Merrill Lynch has predicted that the Dubai government is likely to provide US $6.8 billion in capital spending and $1.6 billion in operational costs for the event. If you include private sector projects, spending would touch $18.3 billion, while the total financial impact is estimated at $23 billion – equating to an annual 3.5% of GDP.

Evidently, this is a very exciting time to be in the UAE, and to reap the benefits of this booming economy.

Make sure you attract the attention of international recruiters and key decision makers by reading our article, ‘7 Ways to Optimise Your Online Profiles for International Recruiters‘ and ensure you don’t miss your next international career opportunity!


3. Australia

The recent Business Expectations Survey from Dun & Bradstreet suggests companies in Australia are optimistic about hiring in 2014. This is against the backdrop of stronger sales expectations among 25% businesses and higher profit expectations among 33%. Capital investment expectations rose too, with the D&B index going from -0.4 points for Q4 2013 to 4.8 points for Q1 2014. In addition, 16% of businesses surveyed planned to access new credit or finance to grow operations. If these plans work out, GDP growth will exceed 3% in 2014.

In the first quarter of 2014, 20% of Australian employers will look to increase staffing levels, according to the latest employment outlook survey from Manpower. As per Deloitte Access Economics, mining remains a major driver of the Australian economy, while the next growth waves will come from gas, tourism, international education, wealth management and agribusiness.

The mining sector in Australia represents 19% of the country’s GDP. In 2014, moving away from mining construction, home building and mining exports are likely to drive growth in the country. Businesses are expected to increase hiring and investment.

Since 2008, the Australian economy has grown by 14.3%. Mining has contributed 3.2% of this growth, followed by healthcare at 1.7%, professional services at 1.6% and construction at 1.4%.

Currently, there is growth in employment in construction and retail sectors, along with healthcare and social assistance. These were the only four sectors that added jobs in every quarter through 2013. Thanks in part to the ageing population, healthcare remains on the growth path, and shows no signs of decline. But if you are in manufacturing, professional and technical services, administrative and support services, this might not be the right time to target Australia for your job hunt.

Those looking to work in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) and Northern Territory have an advantage, as employers there expect robust hiring this year. Compared with the previous quarter, overall hiring intentions have grown by 4%. In the ACT, hiring outlook is set to increase by 9% quarter on quarter to reach a Net Employment Outlook of plus 17%, while in the Northern Territory the outlook is expected to improve by 2%.

New South Wales is looking at growth in infrastructure projects and real estate, even as Melbourne seeks niche workers to handle technology and healthcare.

Not all employers are comfortable with the idea of increasing headcounts, though, which is why contract jobs and other flexible approaches to staffing, are seeing an upsurge.


Are you tempted by a move to Australia? Read our article, ‘How to Use LinkedIn For An International Job Hunt‘ and find out how you should be approaching your international job hunt.




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