With technology being a core component of every industry, it’s no surprise that jobs and salaries in tech have been on the rise in recent years. The Southeast Asia tech landscape has flourished lately, bringing a strong demand for tech jobs across the region. However, despite signs of slowing in other economies, tech jobs in Southeast Asia still seem pretty secure, and startups remain optimistic.

While not wholly immune to the impact of the potential global recession, many opportunities still exist for those striving to enter the tech industry. The region remains an attractive destination for foreign investment, and there are still plenty of companies expanding their operations and looking for talented workers.

Tech jobs aren’t going away according to SEEK Asia CEO

Impact of COVID-19 and the recession on the tech industry

The pandemic caused an economic slowdown, severely impacting the tech sector, with many companies temporarily cutting back on hiring and investment. With the crippling restrictions lifted, many regional startups are back to full capacity and growing again. The booming tech ecosystem in ASEAN continues to draw investors, with a funding growth rate of 85% faster than Europe’s and 65% in the USA witnessed up to 2021.

Thanks in part to the need for consumers to move online for transactions during the global health crisis, eCommerce and digital payments sectors are booming. And despite threats of an overall slowdown, skilled workers are still in high demand, particularly in fields like cloud computing, data analytics and artificial intelligence.

Mass layoffs and cooling tech salaries in the region

Like the global picture, the Southeast Asian tech industry faced mass layoffs post-pandemic. The region was particularly affected by the slowdown in demand for tech products and services from China, its largest trading partner. This decrease in demand led to some layoffs, particularly in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore. The situation was especially dire in Thailand, where the unemployment rate nearly doubled during the pandemic. Fortunately, green shoots are emerging, and the economy is back on track with unemployment rates dropping again. 

With the outlook for the global economy remaining uncertain, it is difficult to say whether the demand for tech jobs in Southeast Asia will fully rebound soon. For now, the region’s tech sector may struggle a little as it tries to recover from the shock of the mass layoffs.

The cooling of tech salaries in the region is primarily due to an increase in the supply of tech workers and a slowdown in the region’s economic growth. 

What does this mean for job demand in 2023?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the demand for tech jobs varies from country to country. However, the expectation is that specific sectors of the tech job market will continue to grow in the next few years. This uptick in jobs is due to the region’s rapidly growing economies and increasing demand for technology and digital skills, particularly in the cybersecurity, cloud computing and artificial intelligence (AI) engineering sectors.

In particular, countries like Indonesia and Vietnam should see the most substantial growth in demand for tech jobs. These countries are experiencing rapid economic growth in Southeast Asia, have a large young population, and are increasingly adopting new technologies. 

Tech job market forecast for 2023

In 2023, the market for tech jobs in ASEAN looks set to stabilise and, indeed, grow in some more specialised sectors. Indications show that there will still be strong demand for certain types of tech jobs in the region, particularly those involving big data analysis, cloud computing, and artificial intelligence (AI).

Despite mass layoffs in some of the larger tech firms in late 2022, Singapore is witnessing an increase in the number and types of jobs in the technology field advertised on platforms such as JobStreet. The popular employment platform recorded a 63% rise in job ads for tech roles, while jobs in other sectors only increased by 54%. This buoyant employment sector brings optimism to the region and indicates that the Southeast Asia tech landscape continues to grow and thrive even with the global economy’s current challenges. 

As the demand for tech jobs in Southeast Asia looks likely to continue growing over the next few years, thanks to the rapidly advancing technology sector and booming economy, there are many opportunities for those seeking employment in this field. By the end of 2023, even more people will likely find jobs in these high-paying and highly sought-after positions due to a greater need for highly-trained tech professionals with specialised skill sets. 

To ensure the growth of Southeast Asia’s digital economy, governments and companies must take action now by investing heavily in talent recruitment, training initiatives and upskilling to stay ahead of the global competition and help ASEAN to continue to develop as a tech and innovation hub.