Study says continued digitalization will increase demand for IT professionals in 2019

The newly released annual Salary Survey from specialist professional recruitment firm Robert Walters provides an in-depth look at the recruitment disciplines in 2018 as well as predictions for the year ahead.

According to the survey, salaries continued to rise in 2018, with job movers receiving average rises of 20 percent and with senior-level candidates for niche roles commanding increments of 40 percent.

Aside from a steady increase in salaries, 2018 likewise saw an active year of recruitment for the Philippines, amid an active economic environment led by the influx of foreign companies and reported local growth and demand.

Robert Walters is one of the world’s specialist professional recruitment consultancies that focuses on placing high-caliber professionals into permanent, contract, and temporary positions at all levels of seniority. The Philippine business recruits for permanent positions across the accountancy and finance, banking and financial services, HR, IT, and sales and marketing fields. Established in 1985, the group has built a global presence spanning 29 countries and regions.

The survey also says that In the technology and transformation disciplines, the recruitment of IT professionals was candidate-driven throughout 2018. As the Philippines remained at the forefront of shared services in Southeast Asia, there was a steady stream of new entrants in the IT services industry. With IT being one of the most outsourced functions, the establishment and expansion of technology centers of excellence in Manila drove active demand for IT professionals. Continued decentralization of hubs to locations beyond Metro Manila, such as Bacolod, Bataan, Iloilo, and even Maguindanao, contributed to the need for skilled IT talent in the Philippines.

“Companies will continue to look to hire professionals with strong technical expertise across different industries and will seek skilled local talent to fill more senior-level positions as the market matures,” said Monty Sujanani, country manager at Robert Walters Philippines.

Continued digitalization efforts will see companies actively looking to hire professionals with skills in AI, robotics, big data analytics, and cybersecurity. Financial services and e-commerce firms will continue to seek to fill higher-skilled roles that combine expertise in technical knowledge and big data analytics. Robust investments in data centers comprising servers, public cloud, and server virtualization will drive strong demand for cybersecurity specialists, particularly with vulnerability assessment and penetration testing (VAPT) expertise.

Technology roles are expected to be equally technical and business-oriented, a cue for professionals to move toward higher-level advisory positions in 2019. Domain knowledge in manufacturing will also be in high demand as it is a sector that needs to transform significantly before 2020 to save costs and maintain a competitive edge.

However, companies may face difficulty securing candidates with technical skills in third-party platform technologies. There will be a limited talent pool to present with adequate educational qualifications or certifications of technical expertise but with a lack of practical experience in development and implementation.

To attract and retain quality talent in the competitive market, hiring managers are advised to provide competitive packages that are both aligned with industry standards and equivalent to the niche skills candidates can bring to the business. Investment in learning and development programs is also key to retaining talent, especially through the introduction of skills-based, verified programs in various digital education platforms. Such initiatives can be expanded to include non-technical employees to provide up-skilling opportunities and potentially move them into technical fields.

The rise in salaries in niche markets was also notable, mainly due to the digitalization that led to a strong demand for technical skills across various industries.

“Companies sought to hire professionals with digital or e-commerce experience, while new technology tools and solutions being offered to the market played a key role in the creation of new sales and marketing positions,” Sujanani said. “There was also a greater demand for niche specializations due to new regulations in the banking and financial services sector, migration activities from abroad, and increasingly digital and cashless banking activities.”

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