80% of PH firms to maintain or hike headcount in 2021 – survey

Employment outlook in the country is seen to continue improving with 80 percent of firms led by the e-commerce and logistics sectors said they will maintain their headcount or hire more this year, according to a recruitment survey.

Professional recruitment services Michael Page Philippines revealed this data at the launch of their Talent Trends 2021 Report, with a keen eye on the Filipino job market.

Data from the study suggests a growing optimism with 35 percent of companies in the Philippines looking to increase their headcounts and 45 percent maintaining status quo in 2021 for a combined 80 percent of firms surveyed seeing good job opportunities. 

Olly Riches, Managing Director of Michael Page Indonesia & Philippines, said “We are seeing positivity increase across the board with regards to recruitment and hiring in the Philippines. While the country’s e-commerce and logistics sectors aren’t as developed as other Asia Pacific markets, the traditional consumer markets have remained robust and are assisting in the economic recovery.”

In view of the economic demands, the sectors earmarked for highest hiring activity are ecommerce, financial services, healthcare & life sciences, technology & telecommunications as well as fast moving consumer goods (FMCG).

According to the report, there is a strong demand for technology professionals at all levels where companies have adjusted to the rapidly evolving business landscape, often bringing in external skills sets to accelerate these changes. Separately, we’re seeing an increase in hiring across e-commerce particularly within fintech, logistics and consumer platforms.

“Acquiring and retaining high potential talent will be crucial to enable companies to build sustainable operations to position for future growth,” observed Riches.

According to the report, 76 percent of employed technology professionals in the Philippines anticipate looking for new opportunities in 2021 while another 20 percent is open to new ones.

When securing a new position, Riches advised professionals, “Companies are looking for technology hires with proven capabilities via third-party assessment, as well as those with solid experience working on different projects.”

As a viable option to bridge skill gaps arising from their move to business recovery in 2021, 56 percent of companies in the Philippines cited their continued investment in employees by upskilling the workforce with training while 56% turned to the use of automation for basic processes.

Filipino professionals have also been empowered with the wealth of information available to them when considering a new job offer. 1 in 3 of the study’s respondents claimed they did extensive research on the company before applying for a job. To be an employer of choice, professionals particularly those born in or after 1981 (Gen Y & Z) rank career growth opportunities, healthy work culture and an aligned company mission to personal values as the top factors.

In addition to recruitment insights and industry analysis on the Hong Kong job market, the report also shares new insights across the Asia Pacific market on related topics such as digital readiness, organisational structure, flexible working, leadership, performance management, and diversity and inclusion.

Across the Asia Pacific region, the COVID-19 pandemic dealt a major blow to the global economy across all sectors and markets in 2020. Job vacancies dropped by 8% to 35% depending on the location. Several businesses reported a conservative approach to their hiring strategy, choosing instead to freeze or even reduce their headcount in order to reduce costs. However the reduced rate of hiring was not an indication that businesses shut out all qualified talent altogether. We saw very positive trends upward from Q2 to Q3, and Q4 versus Q3 2020. Optimism exists in 2021, as 42% of businesses in Asia Pacific said that they are already looking to increase headcount in the year.

While the boundaries of work-life balance were debated in 2020, data showed that 4 in 5 employees were found to feel equally or more productive working from home, only 5% of them prefer to work completely remotely. This indicates a need for frequent social interaction with co-workers.

With this, the survey showed that 51 percent of organizations evolved their performance evaluations. To reflect the times of crisis, management teams started reassessing individuals with greater importance placed on positive behaviors, 64 percent of companies rated team collaboration as the most valued employees attribute during times of crisis.

The Michael Page Philippines Talent Trends 2021 Report features insights  and market sentiment in Asia Pacific on prominent recruitment and talent-related topics including digital readiness, organisational design, flexible work, leadership, performance management and diversity and inclusion. The results draw from a survey of 12 Asia Pacific markets, with over 5,500 businesses and 21,000 employees, of which 3,500-plus are directors.