The Retention Recipe To Combat Asia’s Tech Talent War

The pandemic has sparked a large-scale digitalisation in nearly every industry, resulting in a surge in job volume in the technology sector in Asia, which has traditionally been skill short. As technological advances and digitalisation trends set to accelerate, business leaders have reflected growing concerns about the ability to find the skilled talent to fill technology roles.  

Hays, the world’s leading provider of workforce solutions and specialist recruitment has recently published its latest report spotlighting the technology industry in Asia. The report comprises the voices of professionals and leaders in the technology space in China, Hong Kong SAR, Japan, Malaysia, and Singapore, highlighting their sentiments and approaches to business future-proofing, upskilling, and purpose finding.   

“Recent trends that dominated conversations about work, such as the Great Resignation or quiet quitting, all indicate the growing trend – that working professionals are re-evaluating their priorities and redefining work for themselves,” says Marc Burrage, Managing Director at Hays Asia. “The onus is on employers to understand these new priorities and adapt workforce strategies to them, especially in an industry where skilled talent is increasingly challenging to find.”

Key findings:

1. Technology professionals lack confidence in their organisations’ future-readiness

Overall, technology professionals believe that their organisations could do more in meeting changing customer preferences and adapting to a changing world of work. 41% of technology professionals believed their organisations could do more in the way of adopting new business models and refining customer engagement strategies, while 37% believed the same about embracing digitalisation and flexible working.  

Burrage commented, “Digitalisation, flexible working, and diversity were among the key concerns for employees when it came to future-readiness, with over 80% saying that their organisation’s strategies and commitments in these areas were important to them. Organisations that leverage upon these levers when building their workforce strategies will likely see more success in retaining employees.”

2. Technology professionals are eager to upskill but want more support from employers

Nearly 60% across the surveyed 5 markets in Asia said that their hard and soft skills needed improving, however, some of the top challenges technology professionals faced in upskilling included ‘lack of time to spend on training’, ‘training is too costly’, and ‘my employer does not offer training’. Additionally, there was a clear misalignment in the learning opportunities technology professionals found important, and what was offered at their organisations. 

“The misalignment of key learning opportunities clearly present hurdles to technology professionals as they look to grow in their careers. In fact, the top reason driving technology professionals to leave their jobs across Asia was career development and growth. As employers, reassessing the learning and career opportunities offered to employees could help strengthen talent retention”, said Burrage.

3. Technology professionals are hungry for purpose 

Technology plays a critical role in areas like social responsibility and sustainability, and increasingly, leading technology companies in the world are placing purpose first. When asked their opinion on whether their company had a clear and compelling purpose that addresses a real need for society, 60% agreed, while 12% disagreed. The remaining 28% were uncertain. However, when profit is brought into the picture, only 50% of respondents indicated confidence that their organisations would reject a profitable opportunity that conflicted with their stated purpose. None of the respondents from Hong Kong indicated a lack of confidence, while 27% of respondents from Japan said they were not at all confident. 

“The last few years have made all of us hungry for meaning and purpose, indicative in how 84% said that purpose was important for their performance. Having a genuine organisational purpose, from which every action or decision the organisation makes can be traced, could be the determining factor that increases employee confidence in the organisation, and what keeps employees from leaving,” Burrage advises.  

Here are some recommendations for technology employers based on the report:

1. Strategically lean into future-readiness factors, such as remote and hybrid working arrangements, diversity hiring, learning and development enablement, and emerging technology opportunities to attract top talent and retain top employees. 

2. Determine the skills needed by the organisation and help employees prioritise and plan their learning journeys by setting up structured learning or mentoring programmes. 

3. Turn aspirational company values into tangible action and make it a part of the organisation’s mandate to create products and services that make a real difference in people’s lives. 

For more detailed insights, the report can be downloaded here


About Hays Malaysia

Agensi Pekerjaan Hays (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd ("Hays Malaysia") is one of the leading specialist recruitment companies in Malaysia in recruiting qualified, professional and skilled people across a wide range of industries and professions. We provide mid to senior level recruitment services across both finance and commerce industries. We have become known as the experts in sourcing regional and global candidates, as well as returning Malaysians.
Hays has been in Malaysia since 2012 and boasts a track record of success and growth, with two operating offices located in KLCC and Sunway. At Hays in Malaysia, we operate across the private and public sector, dealing in permanent positions in the following specialisms: Accountancy & Finance, Banking & Financial Services, Construction, Engineering, Human Resources, Insurance, Legal, Life Sciences, Manufacturing & Operations, Marketing & Digital, Procurement, Supply Chain, Sales and Technology.


About Hays

Hays plc (the "Group") is the world leading specialist in recruitment and workforce solutions, such as RPO and MSP. The Group is the expert at recruiting qualified, professional and skilled people worldwide, being the market leader in the UK and Australia and one of the market leaders in Continental Europe, Latin America and Asia. The Group operates across the private and public sectors, dealing in permanent positions, contract roles and temporary assignments. As at 31 December 2021 the Group employed c.12,100 staff operating from 254 offices. For the year ended 30 June 2021:

– the Group reported net fees of £918.1 million and operating profit of £95.1 million;

– the Group placed around 60,000 candidates into permanent jobs and around 220,000 people into temporary roles;

– 17% of Group net fees were generated in Australia & New Zealand, 27% in Germany, 22% in United Kingdom & Ireland and 34% in Rest of World (RoW);

– the temporary placement business represented 61% of net fees and the permanent placement business represented 39% of net fees;