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SEA’s appetite for digitisation and e-Commerce

​Even though Singapore’s Smart Nation initiative meant many organisations had already undertaken their digital transformation journeys, the global pandemic accelerated the plans of many more, increasing the demand in digital and commercial, customer-focused roles. While there was an inevitable focus on tech talent to facilitate this trend, Sales and Marketing professionals with a digital or customer background were equally sought after, as companies pivoted swiftly to an online model.

Now, as the economy has turned a corner and is recovering, a digital, e-Commerce model is here to stay, possibly as the primary offering for many businesses, so investment in the relevant required talent is making the market for skilled candidates highly competitive. Across Southeast Asia, it is estimated that over a third of digital consumers are new, with 90% of them intending to continue their new online practices post-pandemic. Singles’ Day 2020 data showed a vast increase in online sales and traffic in the region, Singapore experiencing a 248% bump. These new digital shoppers represent a huge opportunity for brands.

Despite the speed at which digital has been embraced by these consumers and become the norm, among employers and candidates digital marketing is still considered a specialist niche skill. Employers needing these skills in-house are facing considerable challenges in securing the best people, particularly for roles and skills including:

  • Digital marketing

  • Digital content creation

  • Affiliate networking

  • Brand marketing

  • Network marketing

  • Brand ambassadorship

As customer experience has naturally moved up the agenda for most businesses during the past year, we are now also experiencing increased demand for Sales Development Representatives, Customer Success Specialists, Customer Marketing, Business Development Specialists, and Strategic Advisors.

Last year, in FMCG, sales across Asia Pacific rose by 4.5% year on year, as consumers’ spending habits changed with more time spent at home, the quarantine lifestyle creating a spike in online shopping. This has created considerable demand for candidates with technical skills as well as those in customer-focused roles. As part of the wholesale shift online, there are excellent opportunities for more functional skills such as content creation, research analysis and data analytics.

Despite an economic upturn in Singapore, there is still considerable uncertainty worldwide, forcing FMCG companies here to prioritise flexibility and move to a more hybrid model of permanent and contract staff. The number of contracting roles in the sector has doubled to 20% in comparison with pre-pandemic figures. This positive reaction by employers is echoed among candidates who can equally retain some flexibility in their careers, as well as put more emphasis onto their own work/life balance by choosing to work as an interim professional.

If you’re curious to find out more about how the market is performing or if you need any support with your hiring, don’t hesitate to contact me at plyle@argyllscott.sg.

Posted about 2 months ago
About the author:
Pat Lyle

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