Predicting 2017 talent trends in APAC

Published 14/11/2016 - 5 mins Read

By Armstrong Craven Team

Talent Research Specialists

Sourcing, securing and retaining top talent will continue to be the overriding concern of recruiters in the Asia Pacific region in 2017.

Among the key issues those responsible for talent acquisition will have to consider are:


With uncertainty facing Europe and US, APAC still remains a key growth region for a number of organisations. There is increased consolidation around Greater China regions with growth focussing more on markets like South Asia and ASEAN. There are also more regional roles coming into locations traditionally seen as low cost such as India, Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand. The trend of moving global roles to Asia will continue, but to date hasn’t accelerated as much as previously predicted.


As Ministry of Manpower (MOM) continues to have quotas for local residents to fill key roles in local operations, multi-national corporations (MNCs) will have to develop local residents to fill senior roles. Candidates with regional experience will be at a greater advantage to those who have more of a domestic focus.

Talent compensation

There are still a wide range of opportunities for international Asian talent, and the best talent will often have multiple opportunities. However, companies are becoming less flexible on compensation packages, local and local plus packages are being widely introduced, so top talent is moving for smaller salary increases. An exception to this is in China where local companies are still aggressively hiring from MNCs and will continue to offer significant uplifts on salaries.

Employee Value Proposition/Employer Branding

There will be an increased focus on employer branding and employee value proposition (EVP) as organisations try to drive engagement as a differentiator. A connection and cultural fit is becoming more important. Talent acquisition leaders will have to look at proactively identifying new initiatives to differentiate their organisations in the market in the continued search for their industry's most talented individuals.

Talent retention and internal mobility

Companies will increasingly turn their focus to retention and internal mobility in order to gain greater value from existing human capital assets and reduce re-hiring and re-training costs.


There will be a continued cultural shift in Asia in terms of how people view their careers and where they work. Talent is taking more control and want to be empowered in an area they are passionate about. Companies are looking for that future star capable of fast tracking to senior leadership positions rather than someone who has “been there, done that”.


For some industries, the shift to digital is becoming a key business strategy, for others it’s more about embracing technology and data to improve performance. Social media strategies are being increasingly employed to engage both internal employees and externally.

There will be continued investment in this space, particularly to try to boost employer branding and EVP. Companies which are business savvy, change-orientated and understand the importance of data and digital will be well placed for the future. Many businesses will therefore have a renewed focus on recruiting big data experts in order to control and direct their strategy using data-driven insights and analytics.

The Linked in Global Recruiting Trends Report 2017 contains some fascinating findings. Nearly 4,000 corporate talent acquisition leaders were surveyed across 35 countries.

  • 83% say talent is the top priority in their organisation
  • 56% say their hiring volumes will increase in 2017
  • 80% say employer branding key in recruiting the best talent
  • 61% say the size of their TA team will remain the same – despite increased hiring requirements
  • 57% say their biggest challenge is the competition for talent
  • 35% say limited budget is another key challenge
  • 37% say recruiting diverse talent would be a key trend over the coming years.

  • The full report can be found here.

    These findings also highlight how TA teams will have to increasingly look for innovative, smarter, more cost effective ways to identify, recruit and retain the top talent in Asian Pacific region. This explains why a growing number of multi-national corporations are building talent mapping and pipelining into their approach as part of concerted attempt to adopt a far more strategic approach to their recruitment.

    Access the Armstrong Craven Review Vol. 9

    The Review is read by over 10,000 HR and Talent Acquisition leaders globally and highlights key trends in HR and Talent Acquisition. Volume 9 of the Armstrong Craven Review examines how global events have caused businesses to rethink leadership and talent strategy. The review analyses how organisations must face tensions for successful talent planning. We ask what’s next for EVP? Before exploring the impact of menopause on female leadership and discovering how to succeed in confronting imposter syndrome.

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