Recruitment Cycles in Asia

With hands-on insights for hirers in Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and Philippines.

Didn’t you just finish the first quarter hiring rush? And now you find yourself suddenly in the middle of the third quarter?

Singapore's weather might not have distinct seasons, but recruitment follows a predictable cycle. It is important to keep on track for hiring managers, HR and job seekers alike.

There are many factors influencing the recruitment cycle but with the exceptions of seasonal work, most employers plan hiring on a quarterly basis and follow a distinct cycle of planning and hiring.  

1st quarter: January – March  

For Southeast Asia, the first and strongest hiring season is the first quarter. While studies for the US indicate January and February as the peak with new budgets starting, Southeast Asia’s recruiting is strongest in March. This is likely caused by regional holidays (Chinese New Year) and closely linked to bonus payouts.

7 job market trends in Southeast Asia every recruiter must know

Once all decision makers are back from the holidays, hiring is a set priority. For this most competitive time of the year, hiring managers need to start planning latest in the 3rd quarter of the previous year.

2nd quarter: April – June

Hiring activities slow down with another peak right before the summer break. This might also be influenced by the influx of new graduates during this time.

3rd quarter: July – September

While the hiring activity is slowing down even more, the third quarter is the time to work on your recruitment plan for the next year.

Soon enough budget and financial manoeuvring of bonus payouts will take over the majority of your time. You will need to be first to the market, especially if you are looking for candidates with these in-demand skill sets which will most likely remain similar for the first half of 2019.

7 job market trends in Southeast Asia every recruiter must know

4th quarter: October - December

This is the slowest time for recruiting with the holidays coming up soon. Focus lies on performance reviews, budget allocation and planning for the next first quarter peak hiring time.

Let us support you in finding the best candidates at the right time!

Hands-on insights for hirers

While planning for the reminder of the 2018 and for 2019, follow these helpful hands-on insights for hirers which I gathered from the Job Outlook Report 2018:

About Timeo-Performance

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Through recruitment, training and consulting, Timeo-Performance provides solutions for increased performance of companies, teams, and individuals. As our clients are in the center of global business and often serve the APAC region, our solutions need to be sustainable in a multicultural and remote context.

Our joint venture with Akteos, the European leader in intercultural training, and partnership with digital learning solutions provider CrossKnowledge have therefore been organic and logical additions to our service. Timeo-Performance has been helping companies in APAC increase business performance since 2008 with offices in Singapore, Malaysia, and Hong Kong.

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As busy professionals, our schedules are often filled to the brim with meetings and tasks to complete. We can get so caught up with work that we might even forget our all-important lunch and power through dinner as well. Alas, we can only do so much given the 24 hours we have in a day. While time management is vital, being productive is another matter in its entirety.Enter time batching.


Isabelle Larche

Managing Director, Recruitment & Executive Search at Timeo-Performance

Isabelle is a Human Performance expert, with over 10 years of professional recruitment experience, and 15 years of Business Management Consulting experience. Isabelle is the Vice President of the French Chamber of Commerce and Trade Counsellor (Singapore Chapter) to the French Embassy.

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