For Asia Pacific, the delta variant has delayed rather than derailed a stronger economic rebound, causing shallower post-COVID forecast growth but spread over a longer period. As growth in North America and Europe moderates in 2022, the situation in Asia Pacific is more robust with more sustained growth over the entire year ahead. Accordingly, Asia Pacific is forecast to return to world leading growth in the second half of the year, which is maintained into 2023, while growth in the other two major regions normalises.
India is forecast to lead the pack in 2022 with GDP growth averaging over 9% for the year, largely due to restrictions being lifted and a resultant leap in domestic consumption and production. Similarly, Singapore, Japan and South Korea are all forecast to experience above average growth in 2022 driven by strong demand for exports. Australia is also in this ‘above average’ growth group in 2022, with strong rebound growth forecast after prolonged lockdowns in New South Wales and Victoria were lifted in late-2021.
Amongst this growth, there is expectation that the war for talent will intensify as evidence from a global study shows that 41% of the workforce is considering changing jobs within the next 12 months - in the so called “Great Resignation”. While this originated in the U.S, it is now sweeping through parts Asia Pacific, especially in Australia and Singapore which are both beginning to experience some of the effects.
Labour markets are forecast to tighten across the region, with most registering unemployment rates below 5%. The key message here is that corporate occupiers should prioritise talent retention and attraction in the immediate term as well as enhancing productivity through investment in technology and real estate.
Real estate is at the heart of talent attraction and retention, with strong talent prioritising companies that offer dynamic workplaces in a sustainable way. Countries that are particularly reliant on immigration to boost labour pools, such as Singapore and Australia, are more exposed to labour shortages, and will therefore need to lead the charge on workplace design and sustainability.