Posted on 12 Jun 2015

Tech-savvy Southeast Asia missing the mark on mobile recruitment

By Rebecca Skilbeck, Senior Research Analyst, PageUp


Few regions can rival Southeast Asia for enthusiasm and uptake of social media and mobile device usage. 87% of the population in Singapore and 80% in Malaysia now use mobile devices, according to Nielson research, so it comes as no surprise that smartphone penetration in Southeast Asia is shaping the future of talent acquisition.

Job seekers are ready and willing to use their mobile device, not only to search for positions, but also apply for them. In fact, research shows 25% of job seekers will not apply for a job if a company’s career site is not mobile-optimised, and 34% of candidates do not complete online applications because the process is too much of a hassle.

Are Southeast Asian companies embracing mobile and social media in-line with candidates’ expectations?  The answer is a resounding no!

Candidate expectations vs reality

We surveyed Southeast Asia’s Top 50 companies and found despite job seekers’ preparedness to search and apply for jobs via their mobile devices, companies are lagging in the execution of their mobile recruitment strategy.  The findings appear in our latest research whitepaper, Mobilise Now Southeast Asia, which examines the career sites of 50 of the largest companies across Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand.

It found that 90% of companies surveyed do not have a mobile-optimised career site, despite nearly 80% of Southeast Asia’s largest 50 companies providing a good search experience. For many companies the mobile experience ends there. Candidates are unable to submit an application on 52% of sites surveyed.

First impressions count

The career site is the first impression many job seekers have of your company. It’s not enough to supply relevant information, it needs to be actionable. If candidates can’t apply for a job online you don’t exist.

In today’s tech-savvy world it’s no longer enough just to have a career site, it needs to be mobile-optimised and engaging. If the end-to-end experience is difficult or clumsy candidates simply won’t persist.

Engage candidates on their terms – get mobile and social

The research results suggest many companies are not engaging candidates on their terms.  Today’s job-seekers expect an easy, simple experience which requires minimal data entry, especially from a mobile device.  We found 98% of sites had no prefill ability for application forms, and although applications could be submitted without a resume for 30% of sites, extensive data entry was required in lieu of the resume.

Globally, social media is shaping the future of talent acquisition and many companies are embracing social sourcing as a way to increase their exposure to passive candidates. Despite being amongst the most connected social media demographic in the world, Southeast Asian companies are lagging their global peers with less than one-third allowing candidates to forward a job to a friend and only 10% of the top 50 companies using social referral to reach untapped talent.

Being mobile-optimised provides a competitive advantage when faced with scarcity of talent and hard-to-fill positions. Companies that execute well on their mobile strategy are more likely to build a strong employer brand, reach passive candidates and engage active job seekers. Failure to act may mean losing talent to your competitors.

Checklist: Top tips for creating a mobile-friendly careers site:

  1. The ability to browse through job postings, filter and save jobs of interest on your mobile device;
  2. The ability to subscribe to alerts, refer a friend and share jobs via social media;
  3. A streamlined process which only includes steps essential to the recruitment process;
  4. No dead-ends or back tracking when searching or applying for jobs;
  5. Short, clear text with obvious calls to action;
  6. An apply process that takes less than one minute;
  7. A seamless experience from the company to career vendor site;
  8. Application forms that can be pre-filled from social profiles or resumes with minimal editing required;
  9. Ability to attach a resume or cover letter from Cloud storage;
  10. The same experience on an Android or iOS (iPhone or iPad) device;
  11. Auto-acknowledgement of submitted application;
  12. An end-to-end mobile search and application experience.

How does your career site stack up? If you feel as though there’s room for improvement, pay a visit to our resource hub where you’ll find the latest HR trends and insights.


*For the full PageUp research report, download a copy of ‘Mobilise Now Southeast Asia. This research is part of a series. To compare results across regions, download Mobilise Now Australia’ and Mobilise Now Hong Kong’.