COMBINED factors in the Philippines’s information technology (IT) sector position the country as one of the most ideal locations for application development outsourcing, a marketing research firm said.

“With the country’s global reputation as an outsourcing powerhouse, seizing present opportunities in application development will not only take the country a notch higher in the global outsourcing landscape but will also bring the Philippines closer to the forefront of tech start-up innovators in North America and Asia,” consulting firm Tholons Inc. said in its report titled “Web and Mobile Application Development Landscape: Philippines.”

Tholons added that the Philippines reflects the booming rate in use of mobile, Internet and mobile Internet.

“With a relatively smaller population compared to larger regional markets such as China and India, mobile-device usage in the Philippines has remained high through the last decade,” it said.

Tholons described the Philippines as a “mobile app hungry nation.”

Citing a 2011 study by Yahoo! and the Nielsen Co., it said the country’s Internet user base has grown at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 27.8 percent since 2000, with Internet users now estimated at 30 million.

Tholons also cited a 2011 KPCB study that said the number of mobile-broadband subscribers in the country has also increased to 9 million subscribers by the second quarter of last year, posting a year-on-year growth of 87 percent.

It said this increase represented nearly 10 percent of the entire population of 95 million.

“These high usage rates have also become a compelling incentive for tertiary students in the country to pursue software-development courses, in hopes of acquiring the necessary programming skill sets to develop Web and mobile applications for the local and global markets.”

Tholons said  due to this high labor demand from the IT sector, the country’s labor pool has been seeing an increase in the number of IT graduates.

The consulting firm used 2010 data from the Commission on Higher Education and said the number of graduates in IT in 2009—45,830—made IT the fifth-largest course discipline by total graduates in the country.

“With intensifying demand for application development services in key markets such as North America and Asia, application developers in the Philippines can capitalize on its small, yet rich developer community to take advantage of these growing market opportunities.”

Tholons said “as tech start-ups further proliferate and the market gets increasingly crowded, the need for application development outsourcing to remain alive and achieve profitability will be realized.”

It added that the Philippines “as an outsourcing destination for Web and mobile application development offers a balanced mix of cost, capability and creativity, precisely what today’s tech start-ups critically need.”

http://businessmirror.com.ph/home/top-news/28068-consultants-see-phl-as-worlds-app-devt-site 
 
 
MANILA, Philippines - The software services outsourcing industry in the Philippines posted a positive growth as it reached a robust 37 percent in 2011, translating to $993 million with 11 percent growth rate on employment or some 50,000 information technology (IT) professionals, based on a recent study conducted by the Philippine Software Industry Association (PSIA).

The nearly $1-billion figure is attributed to an increase in demand from international clients to tap local firms for their specific IT and software requirements.

PSIA president Nora Terrado said improved utilization of the current talent pool enabled companies to increase efficiency and revenue per full-time employee (FTE), while close collaboration between industry players and the government in training fresh graduates and career switchers helped augment the much-needed technical workforce.

“With an increased demand for IT services in 2011, these trainees found themselves tapped into the IT mainstream services. This, coupled with process optimizations and innovations, improved the quality of the IT outsourcing revenue,” Terrado said.

Full services to product development

Moreover, some local players are seen to be transitioning from full services to product development companies. Given this trend, the PSIA has created a special interest group on product development (PD/SIG) which aims to help the local software development industry create and commercialize at least 10 globally recognized software products in various categories by 2016, each generating at least $1 million annually from offshore customers.

Country marketing also has a lot to do with it. The PSIA, for one, is active in participating in annual trade missions abroad like the recently concluded Software Development Expo in Japan and the upcoming CeBIT in Australia and Microsoft World Partners Conference in the US, to name a few, to promote the Philippines’ advantages and IT capabilities, coupled with local marketing through consistent public relations and IT evangelism.

Regular networking and business-matching sessions are also organized to promote a dynamic as well as collaborative ecosystem in the sector, through membership meetings, inbound missions to maintain partnerships with neighboring countries such as Japan, Singapore, and Thailand, and regular dialogues with partners in the industry, academe, and the government.

New challenges, opportunities

According to Terrado, the sector is looking forward to achieving new opportunities as well as preparing for new challenges in the years ahead.


“Capability development and product and services innovation are important factors to sustain this growth trend amid the globally competitive environment, the advent of cloud computing, and the convergence of BPO and IT services, among others,” Terrado said.

Terrado further noted that the positive growth of the industry in recent years has encouraged IT organization to offer more long-term programs to develop IT professionals through the initiatives of its capability development committee such as industry-academe linkages, skills development, near-hire scholarship program, and IT teacher development.

The PSIA also offers organizational development programs and a series of enablement seminars on various technology topics and best practices, to boost the local industry’s global competitiveness.

Among the areas of potential growth for the industry seen for 2012 are on application enhancement, maintenance and support, independent software testing, and remote infrastructure services.

The PSIA represents some 150 companies in the country engaged in software development and IT outsourcing, and is among the five independent organizations that make up the Business Processing Association of the Philippines (BPAP), which includes the Contact Center Association of the Philippines, Animation Council of the Philippines Inc., Healthcare Information Management Outsourcing Association of the Philippines, and the Game Developers Association of the Philippines.

According to a BPAP report, the IT-BPO industry in the country is also gaining ground as revenues for 2011 reached an all-time high of $11 billion, 24 percent higher than the previous year with $8.9 billion.

Employee count has reached 638,319, up eight percent from 525,000 in 2010. The voice sector has the most people hired at 416,000, followed by the knowledge process outsourcing sector with 128,650 people.



Source: http://www.philstar.com/Article.aspx?articleId=811383&publicationSubCategoryId=71 

 
 
Philippine officials in the United Kingdom pitched to traders there the opportunities in the Information Technology-Business Process Outsourcing (IT-BPO) industry in the Philippines.

The executive briefing on the Philippines was held in London last March 22, the Department of Foreign Affairs said.

"It is estimated that around 65,000 IT-BPO employees in the Philippines serve the UK market, with gross revenues from the UK totalling over £500 million," the DFA said.

Also, it noted the UK National Outsourcing Awards recognized the Philippines' strengths and achievements and named the country Best Outsourcing Destination three out of the past four years.

Organizing the March 22 briefing were the Philippine Trade and Investment Center-London in cooperation with the British-Philippine Outsourcing Council and hosted by international law firm Simmons & Simmons.

The DFA said more than 20 ranking executives and decision-makers in British business representing a wide range of sectors such as banking, animation, health management and legal processing attended the briefing.

Several UK firms with operations in the Philippines gave successive testimonials at the briefing on the talent, creativity and capability of Filipinos, as well as the superior value, infrastructure and government support available in the country.

Philippine Ambassador to the UK Enrique Manalo, in his address, cited the IT-BPO industry's significant contribution to the growing strength of the Philippine economy in the face of a challenging global business climate.

"Through the dark clouds of the world economy, the Philippine IT-BPO stood fast as a 'Sunshine Industry,' flourishing in a bright cycle of growth and development," he said.

He added the Philippines aims to increase total industry-generated jobs from 1.8 million in 2010 to 4.5 million by 2016, and exports from $9 billion in 2010 to $25 billion in 2016, spanning both voice and non-voice services.

"With the current rate of progress in the industry, I would not bet against the Philippines once again breaking all targets and records," Manalo said. — LBG, GM A News 


Source: http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/260447/economy/business/phl-pitches-it-bpo-industry-in-london
 
 
11 Apr 2012 at 5:56pm

Despite a lower revenue contribution from the local animation industry, the Philippine information technology and business process outsourcing(IT-BPO) industry ended 2011 with $11 billion in revenues, or 24-percent higher than in 2010, and employed 638,000, or 22-percent more employees in the same period.

“We hit the targets projected in our Road Map 2016,” pointed out new Business Processing Association of the Philippines (BPAP) president and CEO Benedict Hernandez.

“This is a good start to our five-year plan to grow at average of 20 percent a year — above projected global annual growth rates of 10 percent to 15 percent,” Hernandez said.

At a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 20 percent, IT-BPO will become a $25-billion industry by 2016, contributing about 9 percent of GDP and capturing 10 percent of the global IT-BPO market share, Hernandez added.

The country’s world No. 1 status in contact centers was further strengthened by impressive growth reported by the Contact Center Association of the Philippines (CCAP), also headed by Hernandez.

The contact center sector ended 2011 with 416,000 employees providing $7.4 billion in services to the world. Already the largest contact center hub in the world, the sector posted a healthy 21-percent growth in 2011 and remained the largest sector of the Philippines IT-BPO industry at 65 percent of total industry.

The Healthcare Information Management Outsourcing Association of the Philippines (HIMOAP) also produced impressive numbers that combined expansion and a first attempt to measure healthcare information management outsourcing (HIMO) services being done across a range of business process companies.

A preliminary survey indicated that as much as $277 million worth of HIMO services were provided to global end-users from the Philippines, with the sector employing 24,700.

Philippine Software Industry Association (PSIA) president Nora Terrado reported a high 37-percent growth in revenues from IT outsourcing, compared with just 11-percent in employment growth. Anecdotal indicators also point to strong demand for Philippine IT services into 2012.

The Animation Council of the Philippines Inc., (ACPI), however, revealed that the sector lost out to some contracts as global competition heated up in back-room animation services, particularly from countries like China that subsidize animation operations.

ACPI reported that its sector shrank by 10 percent to $128 million in revenues in 2011 but it maintained its headcount at about 8,600 animators.

ACPI has been running its annual animation competition, Animahenasyon, for the past four years to encourage local animators to produce original animated films and cartoons. Some of the winners have been featured on local cable channels such as the Knowledge Channel.

The Game Developers Association of the Philippines (GDAP) reported that their first competition also uncovered many young talented game developers. GDAP members have also produced games that have gained followers in the online world. The game development sector grew by 13 percent in 2011, reaching $8 million in revenues and employing almost 1,400.

Raymond Lacdao, BPAP’s executive director for industry affairs, added that companies providing engineering services from the Philippines saw a 5 percent increase in revenues and employment in 2011 ending the year at over 9,000 employees providing $172 million worth of services. This is a second consecutive year of positive growth after a contraction in 2009, reflecting a recovery in global markets for construction and engineering design.

Finally, BPAP Senior Executive Director Gillian Virata reported that non-voice BP and knowledge process outsourcing (KPO) services grew by 24 percent 2011 to over $2 billion in revenues and almost 130,000 employees.

“These numbers are somewhat deceptive because we reclassified a chunk of high-value, non-voice services to HIMO,” explained Virata.

Overall, Virata pointed out that the data shows that the industry has been steadily moving into high-value services.

“This year there was a relatively sharp spike in the revenue-to-employee ratio for ITO and also for HIMO (compared with the ratio for transcription), which increased the ratio overall for total industry.” This trend is in line with BPAP’s growth plans which are aligned with government’s plans for the industry.

Hernandez concluded by acknowledging that hitting the industry’s targets for 2016 would “not be possible without the strong government support that we are now experiencing.”

Government has already granted ₱450 million in subsidies for training through the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) led by Secretary Joel Villanueva.

DOST’s ICT Office (ICTO) Deputy Executive Director Alejandro Melchor III also reported that ₱350 million has been allocated by the ICTO to support the IT-BPO industry. The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) has also approved the offering of BPAP’s Service Management Specialization Track starting June 2012 and has allocated about ₱125 million to SUCs to implement IT-BPO programs.

http://newsbytes.ph/2012/04/11/ph-outsourcing-industry-posts-11-b-revenue-but-animation-falters/ 
 
 
MANILA, Philippines - Information Technology Outsourcing (ITO) in thePhilippines has the potential to double its global market share by 2016, according to local industry stakeholders.

Alejandro Melchor III, deputy executive director for Industry Development of the Information and Communications Technology Office of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-ICTO), made the announcement after meeting with members of the Philippine Software Industry Association (PSIA) recently.

Melchor said ITO can contribute tremendous benefits to the economy, describing this as a vast industry similar to Business Process Outsourcing (BPO).

The DOST-ICTO officer stressed that ITO is growing fast and is driven by converging global megatrends such as the growth of the knowledge economy and the global technology revolution.

Melchor reported that next to China and India, the Philippines has the third largest annual supply of technical talent for IT in the Asia Pacific Region.

He added that the Philippines has consistently ranked number one in the availability of knowledge-based workers worldwide, based on surveys done by the US-based Meta Group.

"We are currently one of the lowest cost destinations for IT outsourcing. Combined with the extensive IT work experience of our workforce, the wide variety of IT skills available and a growing global branding rivaling that of our doctors and nurses, we have the tools and the talent to be a major player in IT outsourcing," Melchor said.

'Star performers'

Meanwhile, DOST Secretary Mario Montejo cited the local ITO industry as one of the "star performers" of the past year. He cited joint industry-government statistics showing that the sector grew by 37 percent in 2011, generating around 50,000 full time employees and generating almost one billion dollars in revenues.

Montejo said Filipino IT workers have a wide range of skill sets that include software development, programming, mobile platform expertise, mainframe skills and database platform proficiency.

Yet Undersecretary Louis Casambre, also of DOST-ICTO, expressed confidence that with the current momentum the industry has, the Philippines can double its market share in ITO by 2016.

"Through ICT Public Private Partnerships (iPPP) like we have with the PSIA, we are developing programs to accelerate growth in this sector,” Casambre said.

Meanwhile, PSIA President Nora Terrado, said the industry is pleased with the support that it is getting from the government through ICTO.

"We are confident with the quantity and quality of Filipino IT talent to support the ITO industry and with continued support from the government particularly in the areas of talent development and industry promotion we foresee that the Philippines will soon become an ITO powerhouse," Terrado said. 


Source:http://new.philstar.com/business/791036/philippine-it-outsourcing-seen-to-double-market-by-2016
 
 
MANILA, Philippines - The country's largest business process outsourcing group wants to double jobs in the sector to 1.3 million in the next 5 years, a third of which will be in cities outside Metro Manila.

The government agrees, saying areas away from Manila are becoming increasingly attractive to foreign BPO investors, given rising labor costs in Manila and other key Asian cities.

A joint study by the Business Processing Association of the Philippines and the Department of Science and Technology showed Davao City, Sta. Rosa in Laguna and Bacolod City as the top 3 BPO locations among 34 domestic locations.

The supply of talent was the main determinant for a location's suitability for hosting IT-BPO operations. These cities, which are located in the provinces, are seen to ease the congestion in well-established IT-BPO hubs.

"We're making inroads in making sure that we grow the next wave cities," Benedict Hernandez, CEO of BPAP, said. "What took us ten years to build, we can create in 5 years. That's 1.3 million jobs."

The study identified the 10 "Next Wave BPO cities" as follows:

1. Davao City
2. Sta. Rosa, Laguna
3. Bacolod 
4. Iloilo
5. Metro Cavite
6. Lipa, Batangas 
7. Cagayan de Oro
8. Malolos, Bulacan 
9. Baguio City
10. Dumaguete, Negros Oriental


Source:  http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/business/03/15/12/bpo-industry-eyes-next-wave-cities-expansion
 
 
MANILA, Philippines—Over 100 countries around the world are now seeking to challenge the Philippines’ dominance in the business process outsourcing (BPO) sector, especially in more high-value, non-voice services, industry stakeholders warn.

Many of the players that are moving in to steal market share away from the Philippines are in the country’s own backyard, such as Malaysia, Singapore and China, according to the Business Processing Association of the Philippines (BPAP).

“There are over 100 locations around the world where IT [information technology] BPO services are being offered,” BPAP head of research and industry veteran Gigi Virata said in a recent press conference.

“While we have our lead in voice services, we have to be more competitive in higher-value services,” she said.

The Philippines now ranks as the top call center service provider in the world, surpassing erstwhile leader India in terms of revenues and head count. Industry officials, however, have emphasized the need for BPO firms to diversify into more complex services if the sector is to sustain its rapid growth.

These include many back-office functions such as accounting tasks and the management of human resource systems that many corporations, in a bid to cut costs, have started to subcontract to companies in countries like the Philippines.

Proficiency in the English, which has been the Philippines’ main advantage over competitors, is not a key factor to success in non-voice services.

“It’s a very competitive world out there,” Virata said. “We encourage companies to be more efficient. They have to be more productive and they can’t just keep cutting costs by reducing salaries.”

“What you have to do is improve systems to identify redundancies, and come up with innovative ideas for better customer service,” she said.

The emphasis on improving quality, she said, has become a key priority for stakeholders to a point that in the upcoming annual ICT [Information and Communications Technology] Awards, a new category, “Quality Program of the Year,” was recently added.

She said eliminating redundancies would reduce the need to keep salaries low, allowing companies to retain the best talent while keeping costs competitive.

Virata said companies should also vie for certification by international organizations that have been recognizing corporate best practices. These include the International Organization for Standardization, or ISO.

“These are the sort of things that clients from places like the European Union demand from suppliers more than our traditional American clients might,” she said. “If we want to break in to new markets, we need to do this.”

There are currently 800 BPO companies employing over 630,000 people in the country today. Last year, the industry contributed over $11 billion in revenues to the domestic economy, up by over 20 percent year on year. This makes the BPO industry the country’s second-largest source of foreign exchange next to remittances from migrant workers.


Source:   http://business.inquirer.net/48155/philippines-now-competing-with-over-100-countries-for-bpo-investments
 
 
MANILA, Philippines — Last week, Business Processing Association of the Philippines (BPAP) president and CEO Benedict Hernandez announced that the IT-BPO industry grew 24% to US$11 billion in revenues in 2011, maintaining its eight percent share of the global market despite the emergence of more than 100 competing centers worldwide in recent years. Perhaps reflecting a gradual shift to non-voice, complex services, employment grew slightly slower at 22%.

Some 640,000 Filipinos were employed in the industry at the end of 2011.

Acknowledging the contribution of the industry to the Philippine economy and job creation while seeking to sustain and extend that contribution, Philippine President Benigno S. Aquino III and his Information and Communications Technology Office deputy executive director Alejandro Melchor in recent months and weeks have announced a series of government grants to the industry. These funds are administered by BPAP.

Some P800 million in grants will go to remedial training (P450 million), strategic training and educational initiatives, brand visibility marketing to prospective employees and the individuals who influence them, and brand visibility internationally to increase awareness and recall of the Philippines for a variety of IT-BPO services (P350 million in 2012). Mr. Melchor says the government will provide P500 per annum in funding to support the industry from next year.

Quarterly surveys conducted by the BPAP and Outsource2Philippines reveal more than 20 outsourcing segments being served by the Philippine IT-BPO industry. For reporting purposes, BPAP aggregates these sectors into seven categories: Voice BPO, Non-voice BPO/KPO, ITO, Health Information Management and Care, Engineering, Animation, and Game Development.

Revenue for each of these segments grew fairly to very significantly last year, save one. That was Animation, which has struggled somewhat in recent years as a result of unrelenting competition, the introduction of new technologies, and shift in demand. Still, the industry employs almost 9,000 Filipinos and generated $128 million in revenue last year, a fall of 10% from 2010.

On the other hand ITO — which encompasses a wide range of IT services — grew a whopping 37% to almost $1 billion in revenue and almost 50,000 employees. Growth in ITO is particularly notable because the Philippines’ competitors for these services — particularly India — has worked diligently to cast the Philippines as a capable voice services provider that lacks the maturity to provide ITO services.

These results show that while India may have been somewhat successful in perpetuating the myth of the Philippines as a solid voice services provider, the reality is that an increasing number of firms leveraging ITO are turning to the Philippines. Anecdotal evidence suggests that trend is continuing to accelerate and that voice services providers are expanding into this segment as a result of growing demand.

Of course, the industry continues to be dominated by voice services, which posted revenues of $7.4 billion last year, a 21 percent increase. The sector employed close to 420,000 Filipinos. Although this segment is very large, it’s worth noting that it continues to grow as if it were in the early stages of development. Voice has been expanding for more than a decade, overtaking India in both revenues and employment in 2010.

The biggest growth last year was seen in health information management and care. According to BPAP, that sector grew 172% to $277 million in revenue and almost 25,000 full-time employees (FTE). BPAP senior executive director Gillian Virata cautions, however, that the increase is in part due to the decision to reclassify some non-voice BPO/KPO services to the health segment. But by any measure, 2011 was a breakout year for the health segment.

Non-voice also posted impressive numbers, growing 24% to more than P2 billion in revenues and almost 130,000 employees. Services in this segment also vary dramatically, from finance and accounting processes to financial risk analysis. Like ITO, competitors and some analysts have questioned the Philippines’ capability to provide these services. Last year’s impressive growth seems to show that there is little, if any, reason to do so.

Engineering services grew a modest five percent to $172 million in 2011, and employed over 9,000 Filipinos. What is notable about this industry is its shift from providing relatively low-value engineering drawings to high-value project conceptualization and management. Although this sector shuns visibility anecdotal evidence once again tells me that Filipino engineers are creating and managing very large engineering projects all over the world. From here.

Finally, game development grew a respectable 13% last year to $8 million in revenues and 1,400 FTEs. The sector is highly competitive, but the Philippine industry is making some significant contributions. WORDTROTTER — whose creators call, “The World’s Coolest Word Game,” claims to be the first Filipino video game on Facebook. More accurately, it was the first Filipino-owned game on Facebook. Filipino developers create dozens of Facebook games annually for clients.

IT-BPO isn’t the Philippines’ only economic leg, as some economists have said recently, and indeed it shouldn’t be. But it’s a healthy leg. One for other industries to emulate.


Source:  http://www.mb.com.ph/articles/353499/public-and-private-sectors-up-the-local-itbpo-ante
 
 
12:18 am | Friday, March 2nd, 2012 Deficiencies in higher education in the Philippines have kept it, along with other neighboring countries, from growing faster and becoming more competitive, according to the World Bank.

In a study, the multilateral agency said that there remains a significant gap between the labor requirements of companies and the quality of graduates produced by local colleges and universities.

This gap, which has long been observed, must be addressed to maximize the potential of higher education in  boosting the economy, said Emanuela di Gropello, World Bank lead economist and one of the authors of the study titled “Putting Higher Education to Work: Skills and Research for Growth in East Asia.”

The study points to the need for research that will help bridge the gap between what employers need and what higher education institutions produce.

This gap is most apparent in the services, export, and technology-intensive sectors, the study said.

“Employers in both manufacturing and services in East Asia and the Pacific, including the Philippines, are looking for problem-solving, communications, management and other skills that will support higher productivity,” Di Gropello said.

Also, inequality in terms of access to higher education is another problem that must be addressed. Although the proportion of the population going to colleges and universities has grown over the years, growth is concentrated on people belonging to higher-income households, the World Bank economist said.

Di Gropello said measures to address the inequality should include the grant of state scholarships and student loans.

The study recommended adequate financing with help from the private sector, improvement of management of higher education institutions, and the enhancement of government systems that facilitate the link among higher education institutions, employers, research institutions and training providers.

Di Gropello said increasing the public budget for higher education would not address the problems in higher education. In fact, she said, the correlation between the amount spent on higher education and its effectiveness is not strong.

Also, the problems confronting higher education are not peculiar to the Philippines, she said. The problem is being experienced elsewhere in Asia, such as Cambodia, Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia.

Soource:  http://business.inquirer.net/47155/wb-poor-education-holds-back-philippines
 
 
By Jamie Yap , ZDNet Asia on February 28, 2012 SINGAPORE--Amid the overall "cautious optimism" worldwide in terms of hiring sentiment this year due to global economic uncertainties, the Asia-Pacific IT sector sees positive hiring forecasts which contrast to the flat or lowered projections from other segments such as banking, finance and engineering in the region.

According to global recruitment consultancy Robert Walters, while recruitment activities will still continue, organizations in Singapore will exercise prudence and caution especially in the first half of 2012 when hiring the right talent to add value to the company.

Andrea Ross, managing director of Robert Walters Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam, presented the Singapore findings from its latest global salary survey at a media briefing here Tuesday. The survey was conducted in the fourth quarter of last year.

For Singapore, IT hiring levels were expected to remain stable as the country undergoes further growth, the report said. Last year, recruitment was particularly buoyant among technology vendors, as well as IT consulting and telecommunications businesses.

IT hiring in banking and finance services and commerce industries such as pharmaceutical, energy, oil and gas, and electronics was moderate, riding on the back of "over-recruitment" from 2010, it added.

Still, Ross noted that the shadow of global economic uncertainties will undoubtedly impact headcount decisions among organizations here, which saw strong employment growth last year with consistent hiring across all industries. Such market sentiment also contributed to disparity between candidates' expected pay rises and actual increments offered by companies which fell below expectations.

Healthy appetite for IT hiring continues 
Despite the conservative hiring sentiments on the whole, the outlook for IT jobs in Asia remained positive this year compared to rest of the world, the report said.

According to Pri Sandhu, manager of IT commerce division at Robert Walters Singapore, while companies "won't go crazy" with hiring IT staff, IT departments will definitely hire more manpower to prevent the budget from being reallocated to another department within the company.

Given the current market volatility, companies increasingly want to use or upgrade their existing IT resources to make their businesses more profitable, or run it in a cost-effective and lean way, Sandhu told ZDNet Asia on event sidelines. Hence, mission-critical IT projects or projects that were put on hold in previous years would now get budget sign-offs.

Also, companies were now investing more resources into building their online presence, as Web sites were increasingly "the first touch" for potential customers, he added.

Companies want their Web sites to be a transaction tool, and not just a commercial tool, whereby, customers are enticed to make purchases or orders through the Web site instead of simply browsing, he explained.

Such efforts to cut or stretch business costs translate into demand for IT professionals, particularly those with knowledge of data centers and infrastructure, software, cloud computing, and Web development, Sandhu noted.

IT security professionals will also be sought to ensure robust digital defenses, audits and regulatory compliance of IT systems, given the several incidences of security breaches andmalware on organizations around the world, he added.

Talent crunch remains 
But while the hiring outlook was fairly optimistic in Asia, there remains a shortage of skilled talentin the region, Sandhu said.

"The roles that are coming up, such as cloud and security, it's not generic anymore; they are very niche," he noted. "But, there aren't many [professionals] with this background or many who have upgraded their skills. Hence, there always is a gap and supply cannot match even a lowered demand."

The executive added that with such niche skillsets required, only those who fit the bill can command a premium. But due to economic anxieties, companies will likely offer prospective candidates lower increments.

Nonetheless, IT candidates today are "more commercially-savvy" and willing to settle for smaller pay rises because they also assess the "soft side" of job benefits, he said.

According to Sandhu, IT professionals no longer have the "backroom" mentality and are asking organizations more questions about training and overseas programs, or mobile working arrangements for work-life balance.


Source:  http://www.zdnetasia.com/apac-it-hiring-outlook-stays-positive-62304028.htm