Coming off the post-pandemic highs of 2022, the tech sector entered unpredictable and volatile terrain in 2023.
“The economic downturn led to waves of layoffs in the industry, and fearful of a recession, companies were more cautious in their approach to hiring,” recaps Nikita Cuevas, Manager at Robert Walters Philippines’ Tech & Transformation division.
Now, companies are putting more thought and consideration into their hiring decisions, with Nikita noting that hiring timelines have gotten longer and there have been more interview rounds or assessment so that employers can be more sure they are investing in the right talent.
“There was also a stronger emphasis on developing internal mobility programs and providing upskilling opportunities, which has helped companies with their employee retention,” she adds.
Read on to find out more about Nikita’s expectations of the labour market and hiring trends for Tech & Transformation professionals in the Philippines in 2024.
Having adapted to new work models that were popularised during the pandemic, companies will continue to provide remote, hybrid and flexible work arrangements. Specifically, Nikita highlights the “hyflex” work model, a combination of hybrid and flexible work that is gaining prominence in the Philippines. This work model allows employees to block off specific times in the day for meetings, and leaving the rest for individual tasks.
“This arrangement empower employees with a strong sense of autonomy and also increases productivity levels,” says Nikita. “We expect this trend to continue in the year ahead.”
Another trend that is set to prevail is the rise of dual-hat roles, where companies recruit professionals who can tap on their wide range of skillsets to fill complex job roles that may span across different organisational functions.
“Some of these roles include DevSecOps, which is a combination of DevOps and security expertise, or data product professionals who are skilled in data analysis and end-to-end product management, as well as scrum master-project managers who can run scrum ceremonies and manage technical projects,” explains Nikita.
Hiring activities may have slowed down in 2023, but Nikita foresees that there will still be exciting opportunities on the market as the industry remains poised for growth and innovation. Market confidence may increase if economic conditions improve further, and companies will tailor their hiring strategies to accommodate this transitional phase.
International corporations exploring efficient ways of allocating their tech workforce will continue to regard the Philippines as a go-to destination for establishing shared services or start-up set ups.
"The local talent pool has diverse skillsets, and on the whole, work environments here are also positive,” Nikita elaborates.
However, the waves of layoffs in the sector have impacted candidate confidence, with many professionals now preferring established multinational corporations (MNCs) that are perceived to provide more job stability over start-ups or scale-ups. In addition, there has also been a growing inclination towards “quiet hiring”, where companies provide employees with cross-lateral roles or opportunities to upskill via bootcamps and courses. As such, more employees are expected to stay put within their organisations.
Looking ahead, technical skillsets that will see high demand revolve around emerging technologies in artificial intelligence. These technologies include machine learning techniques such as neural networks and natural language processing. As businesses seek help with improving strategy and decision-making, they will seek out data scientists who can help them derive insights backed up data.
Professionals with technical skills in public cloud environments such as AWS, Azure and Google Cloud Platform will also be in demand as more companies move from on-prem to the cloud. Hiring teams will look for candidates, such as cloud engineers, who have past projects in cloud infrastructure and applications or projects deployed in such platforms.
Full stack developers remain the most in-demand in the applications development space.
“When it comes to soft skills, modern businesses are looking for candidates with a keen understanding of business dynamics and the ability to think outside the box. More and more, it’s no longer just about the technical competencies, but also business-minded individuals who can engage stakeholders directly and align their work to overarching business objectives,” says Nikita.
Talent attraction and retention have become more challenging for the tech industry. In today’s market, employees prioritise flexible, well-compensated roles with clear career trajectories and long-term prospects, particularly in light of recent economic challenges. Nevertheless, salaries and benefits are still a key part of the equation for candidates exploring new roles.
Companies can address these challenges by providing a clear organisational structure and offering growth and development opportunities, as candidates are more likely to stay where there are fulfilling long-term prospects.
Nikita also suggests streamlining recruitment processes to secure talent quickly in a candidate-driven market. The adoption of a "hyflex" work arrangement is also a key strategy for attracting and retaining tech talent who want work-life balance. Benefits are particularly important as annual increments may not always keep pace in inflation.
To thrive in the competitive market, companies may also reference Robert Walters Philippines’ Market Intelligence Report for market data and insights that help their hiring teams structure attractive and reasonable compensation packages.
Salaries are expected to increase by industry standards of between 20 – 30% for job movers. Companies will also look beyond monetary considerations to create a more holistic and appealing package with great benefits and career development opportunities.
Request access to our 2024 Salary Survey to benchmark salaries and to find out more about key hiring trends across the Tech and Transformation sector in the Philippines.
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Tech & Transformation, Philippines
Niki has specialised in tech recruitment for nine years. She manages a team of eight focusing on both technical and commercial IT positions.
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