Taiwan Has the Best Employment Outlook?
Jan 09, 2018

In a new year when the global economy is expected to grow and employers are planning to hire more, how come laborers are not responding accordingly to this seemingly prosperous job market?

According to a survey from the American recruiting firm ManpowerGroup, Taiwan has the most optimistic employment outlook for the first quarter of 2018. The global economy is expected to improve this year, with employers in 41 out of the 43 surveyed countries or regions planning to expand recruitment. Compared to the last quarter, employment outlook in 8 places remained the same, while 20 improved, including Taiwan, where hiring intentions have grown by 25%, setting a new record since 2015.

What Industries Offer the Best Prospects for Employment?

According to an analysis from the Dispatch General Manager of ManpowerGroup Taipei, Joan Yeh (葉朝蒂), 31% of recruiting Taiwanese companies are in banking, insurance, and real estate. Among the three, the slump-struck real estate industry might offer the less job opportunities, while the banking industry will be giving out the most to quench their urgent need for engineers and AI technicians, as a response to the rise of FinTech and the New Southbound Policy.

As for manufacturers, recruitment will focus on researchers, engineers, and first line production workers.

How Come Laborers Are Not Responding Accordingly to This Seemingly Prosperous Job Market?

According to the data from Executive Yuan, statistics before February 2017 have shown that food and accommodation and support services are the two industries that hold the highest rate in job vacancies. Though a high demand should theoretically mean a higher pay, the two industries grant workers a mere average monthly pay of NT$ 32,622 and NT$ 36,023.

The median of gross income in 2016 as NT$ 40,612 indicates that over half of the labor force in Taiwan gets paid less than 40 thousand NTD.

What Exactly Are the Job Vacancies?

Since the global recession in 2009, the unemployment rate in Taiwan has ticked down by 2 percentage points to 3.9% in 2016. It seems that Taiwanese are occupied by work, yet how much are they getting paid? According to the Executive Yuan, the average monthly actual regular earnings in 2016 was NT$ 37,334, lower than the standard NT$38,000 before the recession.

To workers in Taiwan, a promising pay, just as the missing seven national holidays under the new labor laws, is like a girlfriend that has gone for good, while the ongoing tug-of-war between capital and labor has shifted its focus to an argument over a one-hour-or-two resting time.

Jack Ma, Executive Chairman of Alibaba Group, has a famous saying: Employers leave for two simple reasons –“A wronged pay, or a wronged heart.”

With little prospect for high-paying jobs, Taiwanese are reaching outwards. 724,000 are working overseas in 2016, nearly 10% higher than the 662,000 in 2009. A flow of talent without the limitations of national boundaries might not be bad news, but a deficit of opportunities and talents within the island is a distressing warning.

It is the price that decides the buy and the supply. The same goes to the labor market.

Besides the ‘proud’ title of The Best Employment Outlook, perhaps what really matters is the ‘hook’ behind the job vacancies. Only by giving out the right reward can employers in Taiwan have a chance to turn things around, while tightening budgets on human resources might eventually lead to a dead end.

Translated by Sharon Tseng

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