Career Hotspots for 2014: Part II

Career Hotspots for 2014: Part II

In the first part of this report, we looked at Singapore, UAE and Australia as the career hotspots to watch out for, in 2014. Here’s presenting the second part of the report, with special emphasis on growing, sustainable employment markets and job profiles in Malaysia, Qatar and Hong Kong.


Riding on strong and sustained domestic demand, the Malaysian economy is set to grow by 5% in 2014. All-round economic growth will further help stabilize employment and lead to a growth in salaries. The expected recovery in external demand, too, is likely to provide further impetus.

In a statement, MIDF Amanah Investment Bank Bhd also forecast export growth this year, thanks to the economic recovery in the US. With this, those working in electrical and electronic products industries can expect strong demand due to growth in exports.

For those looking for an ‘in’, job roles in demand in Malaysia include those in Information Technology (IT), engineering, banking and finance. Professional and technical skills in these sectors are in great demand. Expats make a beeline for these verticals, since these are also the areas where employers are most likely to pay to relocate talent.

Malaysia has adopted the Economic Transformation Programme (ETP) designed to push the country toward high-income status by 2020. The ETP is slated to create 3.3 million jobs over the next 7 years, with electronics and electrical contributing 157K jobs, healthcare contributing 89K jobs, and oil and gas contributing another 52K jobs. Like elsewhere in Asia, the financial services sector in Malaysia will grow, accounting for 274K jobs by 2020.

On the whole, the job market is geared toward bringing in skilled talent as organizations look to develop human capital and retain the best talent. HR roles, too, are in focus to achieve targets in the areas of compensation and benefits, learning and development, and talent acquisition and retention.

People with 4-6 years of relevant work experience can expect to receive a 3-5% hike in salary, year-on-year, while those with over 8 years of experience could even look forward to a 10% hike.

Technical and revenue-generating positions are most in demand in Malaysia, with the key profiles being:

    1. IT

  • Systems applications and products (SAP) consultants
  • Business intelligence (BI) consultants
  • Pre-sales engineers
  • Java developers

2.     Engineering

  • Mechanical engineers
  • Process engineers
  • Civil engineers
  • Health, safety and environment (HSE) managers

3.     Banking and finance

  • Finance manager
  • Senior accountants
  • Auditors
  • Credit control managers

4.     Sales and marketing

  • Business development manager
  • Marketing manager
  • Public relations manager
  • Area sales manager


The richest country in the world by per capita GDP, Qatar has been a predominantly gas-fueled economy that is now shifting focus to construction, infrastructure and banking. Even when the world economy dipped in 2009, Qatar grew in double digits. The overall economy is expected to have grown 5.3% last year, and is set to deliver 4.5% growth in 2014.

The state’s oil and gas exports comprise one-third of the global supply of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) and account for over 50% of GDP. Petroleum accounts for over 70% of government revenue and ~85% of export earnings.

But now, having won the bid to host the FIFA World Cup in 2022, the emirate plans to invest $180 billion on infra projects, which include building 12 air-conditioned stadiums, a $35 billion rail and metro network, new roads and power plants, as well as a network of new hotels with 70K rooms. Thanks to all this activity, the non-oil economy is set to expand by ~16% per year, between 2015 and 2018.

The construction sector grew by 13% in Q3 of 2013, and is forecast to expand by 15% or more this year. Lusail city is one of the top building projects currently in progress here. The new city is slated to have two marinas, residential areas, island resorts, commercial districts, luxury shopping and leisure facilities such as golf courses and a complete entertainment district. This is just one example of the sort of construction projects Qatar is looking at.

Apart from construction, the energy and engineering sectors too are witnessing growth. Civil litigation and dispute resolution are doing well, along with M&A and corporate legal services, especially in the hospitality, retail and real estate sectors. Local banks and corporate banking too are growing, while oil & gas, manufacturing and telecommunications sectors are still other areas to watch out for.

The Qatar National Bank expects 6.8% GDP growth in 2014, most of it driven by the non-energy sector. The outlook for tourism and hospitality, finance, real estate and manufacturing is bright. Banks are expected to finance the current infrastructure development, even as they expand their overseas operations. The country is also looking at boosting LNG sales to Europe.

With 85% of its 1.9 million people being foreigners or expats, the state is set to receive even more foreign entrants, particularly engineers, contractors and consultants. Meanwhile, the Qatari government has invested billions of dollars in finance, trade and tourism, in a bid to build a sustainable knowledge economy and attract global business.

Hong Kong

One of the most vibrant cities to live in, Hong Kong is set for another round of growth in 2014. A Mercer survey shows 44% of 158 multinationals operating in Hong Kong expect business performance in 2014 to be better than in 2013. Companies are expected to offer better pay hikes – an average increase of 4.6% – while 25% of companies are in hiring mode this year.

Healthcare and pharmaceuticals are key sectors to watch out for, offering an average pay hike of 5.7%. Hiring is also set to pick up in mining and construction, transport and utilities, services, wholesale and retail trade, manufacturing, real estate, finance, and insurance.

Due to ongoing infrastructure projects and sustained efforts to build affordable homes in the city, the construction sector in Hong Kong is expected to witness 7% growth in recruitment during Q1 of 2014, as compared to Q1 of 2013. The government has set aside a HK$300 million training fund to fight the shortage of 4000 workers in construction.


Making the move to a new location 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‘.


Meanwhile, the economic recovery in Europe is likely to impact Hong Kong in a positive manner, leading to expectations of a growth in demand for Hong Kong’s exports of goods and services. On the whole, the city is looking at 3.3 to 4.1% growth, and 3.8% inflation in 2014.

Profiles in demand include those of skilled engineers, with special emphasis on civil, structural and geotechnical engineering and on people responsible for services within modern buildings such as power, communication lines, lighting, water drainage, plumbing, air-conditioning systems, lifts and escalators. Construction-related engineering is set to dominate the employment landscape for the foreseeable future, as is demand for engineers with managerial skill and ability. Within engineering, electrical and mechanical engineers and those who work in civil and tunneling functions are most sought-after.

Project management professionals with experience in project-planning also command higher salaries due to the shortage of supply here. Proven track record in business development or sales engineering, product design or manufacturing, is also a plus.

Biomedical engineering, which combines engineering and medical services, is another emerging sector. People with experience of working with biocompatible prostheses, micro-implants, medical appliances and equipment, and enhanced pharmaceuticals will find themselves being wooed by companies, and rewarded appropriately.

In the IT and telecommunications space, there is demand for network engineers, especially those with experience of working with security or voice. Technical consultants and solution architects with experience of cloud computing and who have worked in client-facing roles are also sought after.

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!


Right now, hiring is focused on profiles like:

  • Junior to mid-level programmers
  • Business analysts
  • Project managers
  • People with experience of system enhancements, upgrades & migration for retail
  • Developing web apps for publishing
  • Developing web apps for airline companies



Catching the attention of an international headhunter or recruiter can make all the difference in making your desired career move. Read our article, ‘5 Ways to Get Headhunters to Come to You‘ and learn more!



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