Talent Market Drivers Since the Start of COVID: South East Asia Report
LinkedIn data on what talent wants, what employers need, and what we’re learning in the Great Reshuffle.
The global talent market has never changed this much, this quickly. Call it the Great Reshuffle: a time when everyone is rethinking everything.
As employees reconsider where they work and why, employers are recalibrating their talent needs and company culture. It’s a learning process for all involved, and this report is here to help you understand the biggest changes since COVID began.
We’ve pulled together our unique data set to capture how trends are driving changes in people’s attitudes, what employers are looking for, and the skills needed to unlock success in Southeast Asia’s talent markets.
What talent wants from employers
Candidates are rethinking how they choose an employer.
Most important priorities for candidates overall (SEA)
June 2021, LinkedIn’s Talent Drivers Survey
1. Excellent compensation and benefits
2. Good work-life balance
3. Colleagues and culture
4. Open and effective management
5. Job security
Fastest-growing priorities since COVID (SEA)
April 2020 vs. June 2021
1. Employees autonomy +26.2%
2. Flexible work arrangements +14.8%
3. Good work-life balance +10.4%
4. Inclusive workplace +8.7%
5. Convenient commute to work +7.6%
Growing priorities for Southeast Asia talent include having control of their time, flexible work arrangements, and better commutes likely reflecting the upsides discovered during periods of working from home.
Culture changes need to follow policy changes so that employees don't feel burned out from a never-ending digital workday. When flexibility isn’t an option (e.g., for in-person service jobs), employers should consider increasing compensation as a key lever to bring in talent.
Global data shows companies are falling short where it matters the most.
Burnout signals have spiked by 9% in recent months, while employee happiness fell by 3%, according to global Glint data.
That may be because companies aren’t delivering what talent wants. While work-life balance and compensation are the most important priorities for candidates, employee surveys reveal that companies score poorly on those priorities relative to other factors measured.
Companies are doing well when it comes to flexibility — but for all the benefits of remote work, there’s a dark side: employees are more likely to struggle with work-life balance.
What employers need from talent
Employer demand for certain roles is rising fast.
Click through the tabs below to explore hiring demand trends.
Jobs with the fastest-growing demand
Q2 2021 vs. Q2 2020 (SEA)
1. Software Engineer +4x
2. Customer Service Representative +3x
3. Product Manager +2x
4. Business Development Manager +2x
5. Full Stack Engineer +2x
More businesses need help going digital
Digital transformation was accelerated by the pandemic as all companies had to adapt to survive. While digitally native tech companies were likely ready to use tech solutions to facilitate remote work, many others in sectors like retail, travel, and entertainment had to rapidly evolve and adopt new technologies and skills to keep their businesses running.
Across Southeast Asia, 70% of the region’s population are now online and it’s rapidly growing. In 2020, there were 40 million new digital users, as people turned to digital solutions, ranging from essential goods, healthcare to education and entertainment. Malaysian firms[4[ reported they were spending more on digital transformation in 2020, despite economic disruption.
Customer service roles
Of course, this digital push has fuelled demand for digital talent, such as software engineers. But it’s not all tech-centric skills seeing a rise in demand. Roles like customer service representative also were in hot demand, to help facilitate the needs of new customers using online services. In the Philippines, a global leader in business processing outsourcing (BPO), the need for excellent customer service continues to grow, as the sector rebounds in 2021.
Top skills being learned by talent
Talent want the skills to respond to uncertainty.
Click the tabs below to explore how these skills connect to market demand.
Most popular courses on LinkedIn Learning: Malaysia
July 2020 - June 2021
1. Strategic Thinking
2. Excel Essential Training (Office 365/Microsoft 365)
3. Speaking Confidently and Effectively
4. Critical Thinking
5. Communicating with Confidence
6. Unconscious Bias
7. Learning Excel 2019
8. Communication Foundations
9. Learning Personal Branding
10. Time Management Fundamentals
Most popular courses on LinkedIn Learning: Philippines
July 2020 - June 2021
1. Strategic Thinking
2. Speaking Confidently and Effectively
3. Excel Essential Training (Office 365/Microsoft 365)
4. Communicating with Confidence
5. Customer Service Foundations
6. Critical Thinking
7. Building Rapport with Customers
8. Creating Positive Conversations with Challenging Customers
9. Customer Service: Problem Solving and Troubleshooting
10. Customer Service: Handling Abusive Customers
There is a growing need for communication and soft skills to help effectively navigate an increasingly hybrid workplace. The growth of customer service centric roles in the region is driving demand for excellent communication skills. This is particularly important in the Philippines’ business process outsourcing sector.
In upheaval there is opportunity for talent who can effectively identify risks and solutions, and communicate their ideas clearly. Courses such as strategic thinking, communicating with confidence, speaking confidently and effectively, and unconscious bias all reflect talent looking to find new skills to identify change and adapt with confidence.
Critical thinking skills
The ongoing uncertainty of the pandemic has underscored that those who can adapt quickly and pivot to new solutions are the ones most likely to succeed. Knowing when to try out new approaches and when to sit tight requires strategic and critical thinking, as well as confident communication to get people to buy into your solution.
Looking forward to a post-pandemic future
The Great Reshuffle is here: employees are rethinking their priorities, companies are reconsidering their needs, and everyone is learning to “build the plane as we fly it.” We’re all adapting to constant change, making decisions amid uncertainty, and exploring new opportunities.
And although the talent market always ebbs and flows, many of the changes we’re seeing today are unlikely to be undone. Hybrid work is here to stay, digital transformation is only accelerating, and people are building durable new skills for the future.
For the full methodology, see the notes on the global edition of the report. All insights on this page are specific to Southeast Asia, with the exception of the graphic comparing top candidate priorities against company performance, which is based on global Glint and LinkedIn data. The jobs with the fastest-growing demand represent a combination of the Philippines, Malaysia, and Singapore.
1. Harvard Business Review, The endless digital workday
2. LinkedIn Talent Blog, The critical hybrid work issue that companies should tackle now
3. Google et al., e-Conomy SEA 2020: at full velocity - resilient and racing ahead
4. Zdnet, The state of digital transformation in Malaysia
5. Hammerjack, 2021: a rebound year for the Philippines' BPO and shared services industry