Expat Jobs and Job Search in ASEAN. In Southeast Asian countries, the battle for talent is on among recruiters seeking to attract the best and the brightest regional professionals. There will still be a role for expats, but increasingly the expertise will be recruited from neighboring countries rather than places like Europe or the United States.

With the ASEAN planned  integration starting in 2015, this will increasingly be the case across Asia as it becomes easier for organizations to hire professionals across borders. This also means there should be more opportunities for seasoned local professionals to work internationally in their region.

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The integration of this region though the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) economic community in 2015 will bring over 600 million people into a single economic grouping which will offer significant opportunity for international companies and therefore the opportunity for jobs for more Western expats. Job-seeking expats needs to be advised to adapt to the new reality of the job market by applying for positions where their expertise is still truly needed.

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Companies will be looking for American and European job candidates with “soft skills” — qualities like leadership, capacity for smooth interpersonal relationships and the ability to work in a team — on top of “hard skills” like a master’s degree, languages or experience in particular sectors or countries in South East Asia. Whenever possible, companies will still try to recruit local or regional talent, but sometimes find it quite challenging to find qualified candidates for certain vacancies, including senior posts.