E-Commerce Recruitment and the ‘War for Talent’ in Asia

Posted on October 31 , 2022. 
By Sam Berke
Bangkok.,Thailand.,Feb,9,,2018.,Woman,Holds,Phone,With,Linkedin

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Attracting top talent within the competitive e-commerce space is all about developing values and ownership.

As a rapidly growing industry, e-commerce is widely expected to gain market share as consumer preferences shift further towards online sales. The pandemic accelerated changes in consumer behaviour, to the point that established companies – as well as those just entering the market – face steep competition for talent recruitment and retention.

This is especially true in Asia, where the e-commerce D2C market is better developed and talent is demand-driven within a mature ecosystem. Much like the “war for talent” seen in 2021-2022 in Europe and the US, hiring trends in Asia mean stronger competition for staff at all levels, and salaries trending upwards. This is especially true in Asia, where the e-commerce D2C market is better developed and talent is demand-driven within a mature ecosystem. Much like the “war for talent” seen in 2021-2022 in Europe and the US, hiring trends in Asia mean stronger competition for staff at all levels, and salaries trending upwards.

Below are some other trends and impacts worth watching in the e-commerce space, within an Asian context.

Effects of the Pandemic

Even prior to the pandemic, the e-commerce market in Asia was better developed than in most other regions. This digital trend has since greatly accelerated as online shopping, especially D2C, has become normalised across all demographics. The Asia-Pacific market is expected to see over US$2 trillion in revenue from e-commerce sales this year alone, with 57% of the population in the region shopping online.

Population movement, the rise in remote work, and shifts in baseline expectations mean that top talent recruitment in the e-commerce space will become still more competitive moving forward, across both commercial and supply chain functions. Most companies have already faced significant staff turnover during the pandemic, as well as stiff competition for experienced top talent.

Salaries for critical employees, along with benefits such as insurance or housing/transportation allowances, flexible schedules, and remote options should all be reviewed and reconsidered given that talent has become highly mobile and prone to leaving if they are unsatisfied. It is critical that talent buys into their employer’s mission, and understands how their positions will lead to personal development, while maintaining a reasonable work/life balance.

Future Impact: Challenges & Opportunities 

As we enter the post-pandemic recovery period, skilled candidates are keenly aware of their value and no longer motivated by salary alone. The rise of “quiet quitting,” job-hopping for advancement, and “no-notice” quitting are all becoming more common – and serve as a reminder of how important feeling valued has become when making decisions about who to work for.

The need for HR and hiring departments to be agile and proactive has never been greater. Transparent corporate culture and the implementation of ESG metrics are key to retaining a sense of loyalty and excitement for a talent pool that is no longer making decisions from monetary factors alone.

Companies that are transparent about internal development opportunities and benefits can reap the rewards of this seismic shift, by satisfying employees’ deep desire to feel valued and ethically grounded at work. Taking social and ethical footprints seriously is financially advantageous, as consumers and employees alike are becoming hyper-aware of social issues, staying loyal to companies they align with. This cultural bond helps prevent external poaching from competitors and headhunters.

Within this context, it is essential to be proactive and begin the hiring process sooner rather than later. Taking the time to review existing salary and benefit packages, and finding ways to present the corporate vision can be difficult, but the market is clearly trending towards a pickier workforce that has clearly articulated demands and many potential employers to choose from.

The Path Forward

Hiring in the e-commerce space will only become more competitive, with a highly mobile workforce that is hyper-aware of social impacts and ESG principles. These issues are a guiding force in their decision-making – a development that is unlikely to be reversed in the foreseeable future.

Beyond salary adjustments, companies must find a way to articulate their vision as well as their employees’ place within it. Success in these areas can generate buy-in, establishing loyalty and engagement while avoiding staff attrition. Businesses that address these concerns will be well-suited to maintain, develop, and grow their teams, locking down their staffing needs ahead of the expected hiring peak in 2023.

Sam Berke

Business Manager

Consumer Markets

 Singapore

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