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Working in Asia Grows Tougher for Westerners

Despite low unemployment and solid hiring across many sectors, the job market in Asia is gradually becoming less welcoming for Westerners.

Even before the global financial crisis, newcomers to Asia could not expect to walk into a job in the region unless they had particularly sought-after skills.

About 60 percent of job specs processed by the recruitment firm Hudson in Singapore, for example, now require Mandarin, said Andrew Tomich, the company’s executive general manager in Singapore. Five years ago, he said, the percentage was half that.

“Even in the last 12 months, there’s been a steady increase in Singapore for Mandarin-speaking candidates,” he said. “We can feel it with every breath we take.”

In Hong Kong, which is a stepping stone to mainland China, the percentage of jobs requiring Mandarin or Cantonese has climbed to more than 80 percent, according to Aruna Alimchandani, director of the commerce and industrial unit at Hudson in Hong Kong. That is up from about 70 percent just a few years ago.

In mainland China in the 12 months through October 2012, expatriates ended up in just 5 percent of the jobs filled by Hays, a recruitment agency that specializes in white-collar jobs. One year earlier, the number was 11 percent, said Christine Wright, who heads Hays’s operations in Asia.

Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor


via For Westerners in Asia, the Job Market Grows Tougher –

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