The retention recipe to combat Asia’s tech talent war

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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 futureproofing, 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:

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 per cent of technology professionals believed their organisations could do more in the way of adopting new business models and refining customer engagement strategies, while 37 per cent 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 per cent 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.”

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

Nearly 60 per cent 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.

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 per cent agreed, while 12 per cent disagreed. The remaining 28 per cent were uncertain. However, when profit is brought into the picture, only 50 per cent 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 per cent 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 per cent 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:

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.

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

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.


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