COVID-19 causes seismic shift to digital service jobs in SEA

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The region has recorded a significant uptick in digital services adoption, including the emergence of two new fields, healthtech and edtech.

COVID-19 brought significant disruption to the global economy, and with it came permanent changes to the jobs landscape. Across Southeast Asia, many businesses and workers continue to navigate the ongoing economic consequences of the global pandemic.

As a result, the region has recorded a significant uptick in digital services adoption, including the emergence of two new fields, HealthTech and EdTech, which has driven an evolution in jobs and opportunities.

As businesses move forward into 2021, workers and organisations want to know: What trends LinkedIn has seen emerge in the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand during 2020, what jobs are on the rise, and what skills are needed to succeed in these roles?
In a recently released report based on LinkedIn’s dataset offers insights into these questions in a special edition of LinkedIn’s yearly Emerging Jobs Report, titled Jobs on the Rise.

The report takes a close look at the rapidly changing world we’re living in, as a result of COVID-19. In previous years, we have looked at changes in the jobs landscape over the past five years, but this year, the special Jobs on the Rise report compares the roles experiencing the highest growth between April and October 2020 against the same period in the year before.

One common and overarching trend we have noticed amongst almost all the roles on our list is that almost all may be conducted remotely. As a result, workers who are equipped with digital skills, even at a basic level, will have an edge in finding employment opportunities within these fields.

COVID-19 accelerated the adoption of digital platforms in the region. Technology has allowed people to work, stay connected to their loved ones and fulfil their daily needs like groceries, from the comfort of their own home.

In fact, one in three digital service consumers in Southeast Asia were new to the service. And more importantly, 94 per cent of these new digital users are likely to stick with the service moving forward. As a result, LinkedIn expects the demand for workers with tech skills will remain, from specialised engineers, to cyber security talent and data analysts.

Data analyst

The rapid adoption of technology has allowed companies to collect large amounts of data, and with it, the potential to unlock new solutions and products. This has led to the demand in roles pertaining to processing, analysing, and storing data.

Software and technology

Software and technology roles have long featured on the emerging jobs list, and it is likely we will see this trend continue. Companies are continuing to adopt new technologies, and this continues to drive demand for specialised engineering roles — from professionals who develop and adapt new software solutions to those who build websites.

Cyber security

Cyber security roles have been a mainstay of Southeast Asia’s emerging job lists, as both government and private enterprise invest heavily in securing data. From developing software to rebuff phishing, viruses, and hackers, to tracking digital incursions, those working in cyber security roles offer a range of services to keep information and data safe. As more and more organisations and systems move online, this will become increasingly relevant and important.

Specialised engineering

By 2050, Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) are expected to make up the fourth-largest economy in the world, fuelled by manufacturing, trade, and population growth. The cities within these countries are rapidly developing and expanding, and are attracting foreign companies, talent and investment. Specialised engineers, equipped with the latest engineering software skills, will continue to be in demand as the region continues to grow.

Brands have found new ways to connect with consumers, leading to a rise in demand for digital marketers and content creators.

The shift online throughout Southeast Asia has brought about an evolution in how brands communicate with their consumers. LinkedIn’s data shows a 48 per cent increase in companies posting on the platform in June 2020, compared to a year earlier. This has led to growth in demand for digital marketers — professionals who seek to engage consumers effectively online, and digital content creators — those who are able to produce entertaining content across a range of channels.

Digital content specialist

2020 saw a surge in online entertainment, with new users making up 38 per cent of total Southeast Asia’s video on demand service users. As a result, the demand for professionals who can create interesting content for consumers will continue to be in demand.

Digital marketing specialist

In 2020, the ability for organisations and brands to find new ways to communicate with customers using online media became even more important, as many faced significant disruption to their usual in-person engagement. We saw social media and digital marketing capabilities evolve and expand. Now that organisations have experienced the potential of social media, this trend is likely to continue in future.

Traditional roles have evolved, as a result of COVID-19

In 2020, we saw jobs that were traditionally conducted in-person evolve to be online. For example, we saw a growth in digital lending, education and HealthTech services. This is unsurprising, as 70 per cent of Southeast Asia is now online. Those in these sectors, and beyond, need to have mastered the basics of technology, from communication tools to social media platforms and basic office software. With these skills, workers will find that more opportunities will open up for them.

‘Jobs on the Rise’ is a special edition of the LinkedIn Emerging Jobs report that more closely represents the rapidly changing world we’re living in, as a result of COVID-19. Instead of looking at how the jobs landscape has changed over the past five years, this year, we looked at the roles experiencing the highest growth between April and October 2019 with the same period in 2020.
While ongoing disruption and uncertainty is likely to continue in the new year, we hope this report shows there are still various opportunities for talent with a range of experience and skills. Towards this end, we have distilled the key trends in the last 12 months, hoping to provide an inkling to what we can expect from the job market in future.