Career Hotspots for 2014: Part III

Career Hotspots for 2014: Part III

In the first and second parts of this series, we looked at Singapore, UAE, Australia, Malaysia, Qatar and Hong Kong as the new and emerging destinations to help your career soar, in 2014. This time, we’re turning the spotlight on three destinations that are behind Asia’s rise as the powerhouse of global economic development.

It is no secret that emerging Asia has made phenomenal progress over the last 40-odd years. The continent has seen growth across various parameters, raised income levels, reduced poverty and developed manufacturing muscle power. It is now time for you, the globe-trotting professional, to discover the immense career potential of Indonesia and Thailand, along with Tokyo, which has long been considered among the most liveable cities in the world.

1. Indonesia

A flourishing economy, almost half of Indonesia’s labour market has advanced into the lucrative services sector. The country’s energetic economic development is grounded in the booming domestic demands for stronger infrastructure spending.

Propelled by the growing tourism sector, the Indonesian job market is ripe for expats seeking opportunities here. Huge domestic demand and increasing foreign investments are driving economic growth. For sustaining this growth, Indonesia is improving its business investment climate by simplifying business procedures and offering a variety of employment opportunities for expats in several sectors.

Indonesia is unique in that, given the Indonesian Islands’ high exposure to natural disasters, experience with natural disaster management systems, particularly with regard to flooding, is a highly-valued skill set here.

Key industries include:

  • Auto manufacturing: The Indonesian automotive industry is set to surpass Thailand as the regional leader and the sector is seeing strong hiring demand, to boot.
  • Energy: The Indonesian Clean Energy Programme (ICED) is pushing towards reduced greenhouse emissions and increase in geothermal energy usage by 700% by 2025, creating healthy demand for professionals in this sphere.
  • Insurance: The insurance industry here has surged to triple its growth. This year, the Indonesian Life Insurance Association (AAJI) target is to reach US $55.4 million in assets. While private foreign insurance companies are not allowed to operate in Indonesia, many foreign entrepreneurs successfully run joint ventures in the insurance sector.
  • Legal: Multi-billion dollar projects in mining, natural resources and oil and gas sectors have enticed investors and law firms to Indonesia. This in turn has multiplied employment prospects in insurance and projects.
  • Logistics: The logistics industry was worth $153 billion in 2012, and is only set to grow.
  • Packaging: By 2016, the packaging industry is predicted to be worth $9.6 billion.
  • Petrochemicals: As part of its Master Plan for Economic Growth, the Indonesian government has heavily invested in the petrochemical industry, creating five petrochemical industry clusters: Bali, Tuban, Balongan, Tangguh and Bontang. All these locations offer excellent prospects for growth in this career.
  • Tourism: The tourism industry remains one of Indonesia’s strongest sectors and continues to expand in 2014.

To gain employment in Indonesia, you need to be a specialized professional looking for work in a particular sector. One of the best ways to move to Indonesia is to join a company with presence there, and then look for an intra-company transfer.

Right now, 79% of businesses in the country are expanding. This will translate into 27% of businesses seeking additional staff. Expatriates have more success finding a job in the services sector, or the financial, banking and trading sectors. Many expats eager to move to Indonesia elect to teach English, which is presently in very high demand.

2. Tokyo

The Manpower Employment Outlook Survey shows a positive trend in Japanese employer confidence, fostering an upbeat hiring pace in 2014. With Net Employment Outlook at +17%, employers across the board will steadily be adding new employees on their payrolls this year.

  • Accounting and finance: With a bullish job market in 2014, companies in Tokyo are generating many permanent and temporary positions. To secure good candidates at different managerial levels in the competitive market, applicants are offered higher salary packages and other benefits. It is not uncommon for a candidate to receive multiple offers.
  • Banking: A lot of the hiring continues to focus around equities, with new roles emerging within fixed income and foreign exchange. A recent increase in structuring and trading roles indicates the increase of general risk appetite in Tokyo’s capital markets firms.
  • Finance technology: New roles continue to emerge within finance technology, driven by the demand for positions in IT risk/ security and development projects. Expatriates with relevant technical, bilingual and industry skills will remain in high demand – with matching salaries.
  • Human Resources: Government-triggered initiatives have positively affected manufacturing and financial services, and many companies have begun creating new positions and rebuilding their HR teams.
  • Information Technology: There is an active job market in IT, thanks to replacement of retiring employees and creation of new opportunities. The prevailing trend is for organisations to focus on strategic technology roles. This has created a big job market for Data Analysts, Project Managers and Consultants.
  • Insurance: Companies in the life insurance sector are steadily hiring insurance brokers, actuaries and claim adjusters. Highest in demand are professionals with insurance business knowledge, project management skills and English language skills.
  • Legal: There is increasing demand for paralegals to occupy permanent positions. Most jobs, however, are open only to candidates with Japanese language skills.
  • Life sciences: As medical device sales companies become more flexible, there is potential for more expats with sales experience to find a position in pharmaceutical companies.
  • Office professionals: There is an ongoing demand for bilingual secretaries who can support Japanese executives and foreign executives. Companies are looking to increase diversity in their organisations to bridge the communication gap between Japanese workers and foreign project staff.
  • Property: There is a blanket increase in demand for Facility Managers, Project Managers, Corporate Security and BCP/ Crisis Managers for industrial, retail, office and hospitality properties.
  • Sales and marketing: Growth in sales and marketing functions has created a considerable demand for qualified professionals with bicultural skills and a global mindset.
  • Supply chain: The up-trend in supply chain recruitment is in anticipation of Tokyo hosting the 2020 Olympics. Thus, construction and manufacturing companies are increasing their headcount.

Even as demand for skilled professionals continues to grow, one of the biggest challenges Japan faces is its considerable talent gap. Appropriately skilled candidates are in short supply, and this, combined with increasing positivity surrounding Japan’s economic outlook, makes the country a hotspot for expatriate candidates.

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!


3. Bangkok/ Thailand

Thanks to growing domestic demand in infrastructure investment and private consumption, Thailand’s economy is projected to grow by an average annual rate of 4.9% over the period 2014-18.

Thailand’s GDP has overtaken that of Malaysia, Hong Kong, and even Singapore. A financial hub for Southeast Asia, avenues for expats seeking employment in Bangkok are diverse.

With an annual GDP growth of 4.5% in 2012 and over 5% in 2013, Bangkok is a pivotal location for international professionals seeking to relocate to the Southeast Asian region. Tourism, in particular, is an important employer in the Bangkok region. Working in Bangkok is also an attractive option for specialists from communications, real estate, and transport sectors.

An expatriate can either move here with an intra-company transfer or seek a position with the Thai branch of a multinational company such as Unilever, Tesco Lotus, or Sony. Quite a few expatriates are employed in Bangkok’s finance sector; most of them work for one of the commercial banks that have their regional headquarters in Bangkok.

High-tech and consumer products manufacturing units offer lucrative job opportunities for expats to work in Bangkok’s electronics industry or in the automotive plants of Greater Bangkok.

The city’s manufacturing plants focus, to a large extent, on processing crops from agriculture and forestry or on creating popular arts and crafts. Convenience food, processed rice, and lumber are among the most important products made in Bangkok, as are gemstones and jewellery.

Mr. Ikezawa, an expat from Japan who currently works for a publication company in Bangkok, says: “The distinct appeal of Thailand is that the whole country has dreams and lives with a positive attitude.” Bangkok is a city with an international atmosphere and for people who are open to a vibrant and eclectic culture, it is the perfect environment.

Making the move to a new location such as Thailand 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‘.



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