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Hiring in the Philippines: Array of opportunities as job market shines

In 2022, international companies looked at decentralising functions in order to better respond to market-specific uncertainties. As a result, according to Alejandro Perez-Higuero, Director at Robert Walters Philippines, “Businesses continued to build shared services centres in the Philippines, particularly for Tech, and support functions.”

He further notes, “The Philippines as a market became more attractive for tech start-ups as well, as businesses saw the value of launching teams in the Philippines both from a cost and soft skills perspective.”

In addition, with COVID-19 having shifted the workforce towards more flexible work arrangements, Alejandro points out, “Even as restrictions eased in 2022, we saw companies without flexible work options struggle to attract and retain talent. Employers today can’t afford to ignore the importance of flexibility, as this is what the workforce expects after having adjusted to work-life integration during the pandemic.”

Accelerated hiring in 2023

Looking ahead, Alejandro forecasts, “We can expect accelerated hiring activity in the Philippines in 2023. Many multinational companies and tech start-ups will continue to penetrate the market, bringing an array of job opportunities.”

“There will be increasing demand for local Filipino talent, even as businesses reduce staff worldwide, given the Philippines’ labour market role within the current economic dynamics,” he adds.

Also, when it comes to returning to offices, Alejandro says, “Companies will face the challenge of finding the right set-ups and culture if they want to motivate their employees to attend their physical locations.”

Demand for required soft skills

As the Philippines enjoys continued market expansion, he foresees, “Many businesses will prioritise hiring professionals with international experience and exposure to working in diverse environments. Talent sought after must be used to working with different stakeholders from different countries at the same time, with strong organisational and stakeholder management skills.”

The emphasis on soft skills will be strong, particularly for senior and leadership positions that require risk-taking, conflict negotiation, and tough decision making.

Alejandro also expects “high demand for Support Functions professionals with tech-driven and omnichannel skills and knowledge”.

Attracting and retaining today’s talent

He reveals, “Our clients often aim to attract the top 5% of the talent market. These are individuals with a lot of options and who make decisions based on growth and learning as priorities. Hence, companies looking to recruit them will need to offer greater scopes and exposure compared to their current job.”

“The candidate journey should not be overlooked either, as a positive experience in the recruitment process contributes to their decisions to accept offers,” he advises.

To retain talent, Alejandro recommends that “It is important for managers to keep employees challenged and to be able to build clear career paths for them. Companies should train people managers to constantly think of ways to ensure best talents remain interested and engaged, and not wait until they have resigned before reacting with counteroffers.”

“With the rise of hybrid work set-ups, managers will have to balance flexibility and accountability by trusting employees while giving them challenges and opportunities to grow,” he notes.

Salary increments amidst market conditions

In 2023, “We can expect salaries to see increments of at least 4% due to inflation and market conditions,” Alejandro expresses.

“For candidates switching jobs, increments of around a 25% will be the rule, while candidates in very niche or high demand segments can expect higher salary increments, as companies will be willing to pay more for selected skillsets and strong leadership skills.”

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