All entrepreneurial ventures come with their fair share of trials — and in the dynamic landscape of startups, many founders have grappled with the same problem for years: losing key talent to more established industry giants.
This struggle is particularly prevalent in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region, where larger enterprises lock in significant portions of the region’s top talent. For example, in Japan, many large companies use tactics such as lifetime employment. Lifetime employment is a long-established practice in many large Japan-based firms where employees are promised job security for the entirety of their working life, limiting startups’ access to a wider talent pool.
However, new research shows that the landscape is beginning to shift. For instance, emerging talent in APAC is ready to test the employment market, with almost a third likely to change employers in the next 10 months (an increase of 10% from last year). What can startups do to boost their chances of recruiting tech’s best and brightest? Let’s explore how APAC-based companies can attract and hire tech talent in today’s fast-paced market.
Tech recruiting challenges in 2024
How can startups hire tech talent and lure skilled professionals away from competitors? The answer to this hiring challenge could be hiding in plain sight. While the economy has rebounded since pandemic lows and the mass talent exodus of 2022 has largely subsided, large companies have adjusted their workforce priorities, making more highly skilled tech workers available now than in years past. At the same time, the Employer of Record model made possible by companies like G-P now gives startups the same access to global talent pools as their more established rivals.
The job market is teeming with fresh Gen Z talent seeking employers that better align with their core values, growth ambitions, and work-life balance preferences, which can be a boon for startups and entrepreneurs who have struggled to attract talent away from high-profile competitors.
As the fight for talent continues to evolve, one thing is clear: hiring top tech candidates is key to long-term startup viability.
What tech jobs are in demand?
It’s no secret that the tech industry continues to dominate fast-growing roles, especially in the APAC region, where the tech talent market is particularly dynamic. As 2024 unfolds, businesses are actively hiring skilled talent in fields such as DevOps and cloud initiatives, information security, AI, automation, system upgrades, software development, data integration, and analytics. According to Robert Half’s Technology Salaries and Hiring Trends report, competition for tech candidates remains high, with 61% of hiring managers planning to expand their teams in 2024.
The cybersecurity workforce in APAC grew 11.8% in 2023, now standing at just under a million professionals. Despite strong statistics in cybersecurity, APAC-based companies still struggle to measure up in crypto talent. Out of the two million software developers in India, only 5,000 of them possess the necessary skills to succeed in the global blockchain solutions market. While tech talent exists globally, the demand for talent still outpaces the supply in the APAC region.
5 ways to attract and retain startup tech talent
Like a siren signaling the need for change, the “Great Resignation” movement has forced companies to sit up, notice, and respond to shifting tech employee needs. The APAC region in particular has seen a worrying shortage of tech talent, a growing skills mismatch, and an aging population in countries such as China, Australia, and Japan.
As a result, roles are becoming harder to fill. A recent IDC report, Enterprise Automation to Mitigate the Digital Skills Shortage, revealed that around 60-80% of APAC-based organizations find it difficult or extremely difficult to fill vacancies across vital IT roles, including security, developers, and data professions. Recognizing the need for innovative solutions, APAC recruiters have set their sights on global talent pools.
Let’s explore how to hire for a startup company and attract top global candidates today.
1. Clearly define your tech stack and job requirements.
Before delving into the hiring process, it’s essential to have a clear understanding of your specific tech needs. Be sure to identify the specific programming languages, technologies, project management tools, and frameworks your specific startup will be working with. This approach will help you write targeted job descriptions to attract candidates with the right hard and soft skill sets. Whether you’re seeking a dedicated data scientist or building a creative team, clear job requirements will pave the way for successful hires.
The language used in the job description and interview process is equally as important — ensuring your recruiters effectively communicate the role requirements and understand the technical jargon helps align expectations from the outset. In most cases, technical recruiters are best suited for discerning a candidate’s qualifications and understanding the unique needs for these positions.
Remember: Your job description is your first point of contact with jobseekers in the recruitment process. Make sure to write a strong job posting that clearly highlights the challenges and growth opportunities your startup offers.
2. Differentiate your employer branding from bigger companies.
The way companies market themselves can determine their success in attracting key talent, especially for smaller startups fighting against tech titans. Employer branding that fails to account for the needs of top employees will likely lose existing talent and discourage potential candidates. Startups and smaller companies are taking notes, actively listening, and tapping into the desires of the tech talent pool throughout the interview process.
Today, any digitally savvy individual does their due diligence on a prospective company before pulling the trigger and accepting an offer, so the way companies market themselves can determine their success in attracting key tech talent.
Take PayPay, for example. The Japan-based fintech company embodies the flexible mantra by providing a work-from-anywhere allowance and access to WeWork offices all over Japan to all its employees.
3. Focus on work-life balance.
When it comes to attracting tech talent, a strong company culture is key. A recent survey conducted by Randstad Singapore found that over 40% of workers in Singapore would quit their jobs for a better work-life balance. This underscores the importance of building and marketing your work environment as flexible, with a focus on work-life balance.
According to another survey conducted in seven countries by McKinsey & Company, 39% of respondents said they are planning to leave their jobs within the next three to six months. Organizations can respond to falling attrition by tailoring employee value propositions to specific preferences. For example, 41% of Gen Z candidates look for remote and flexible work options.
Make work a positive experience by offering flexible working alternatives and a performance-based culture. Startups and tech companies can go the extra mile by enforcing strict signoff times to prevent burnout.