Executive Search in Taiwan – 2021 Outlook

Taiwan Maintains Positive Growth in 2020

Despite the global economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Taiwan has maintained robust economic growth, with real GDP growth expected to hit 2.71% for 2020, according to Academia Sinica. It forecasts an annual GDP growth rate of 4.24% in 2021.

‘Revival of foreign trade and robust investment growth will continue to sustain Taiwan’s solid economic growth in 2021.’ Academia Sinica said. The Government has made clear Taiwan’s hopes of signing a free trade deal with the U.S., but it is not clear whether the incoming Biden administration will be interested.

Uncertainties remain for 2021. The continuing spread of COVID-19, multi-faceted antagonism between the United States and China, and other geopolitical risks could affect the pace of global economic recovery. When those factors are coupled with the deadlock in cross-strait tensions, Taiwan could face significant uncertainties in the areas of foreign trade, investment, and the performance of its financial markets.

The Employment Market

Financial & Insurance

Taiwan is planning to open up its economy further and offer more Asian financial and asset management products. The plan is to attract more international-level capital and talent to Taiwan. On Dec. 14, an amendment to the Act for the Recruitment and Employment of Foreign Professionals was published by the Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) to loosen the requirements for foreign nationals planning to work in the finance sector.

The number of employed in Financial & Insurance rose by 4,500, or 1.15%, from a year earlier, but fell by 150, or 0.04%, from the previous month.

Industrial and Service

With the impact on the local economy caused by the COVID-19 pandemic fading in Taiwan, employment numbers in the local industrial and service sectors showed signs of recovery at the end of 2020.

Data shows that the number of people employed in the industrial and service sectors in Taiwan rose by 10,000, or 0.13%, from a month earlier to about 7.96 million as of the end of October.  This marks the fifth consecutive month of recovery but is still below

the 2019 employment numbers.


Taiwan’s manufacturing activities are less affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Moreover, the high tech capacity expansion responding to the emerging demand for new technological applications such as 5G and high-performance computing (HPC), support Taiwan’s export growth.

However, the U.S. and Europe, which are two of the major buyers of Taiwanese goods, have been faced with new waves of COVID-19 infections and export-oriented manufacturers should remain alert to possible adverse effects in the future.

Medical Care and Hospitality

At the end of October 2020, the number of people employed in the medical care and hospitality industries had risen by 3,000 and 2,000 respectively from a month earlier.


The employment number in the transportation industry, including airlines, totaled 22,824 at the end of October, compared with 23,664 recorded at the end of 2019, amid continued border controls imposed to contain COVID-19.


In conclusion, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) predicts the global economy will rebound from the deep decline in 2020, and the world trading volume will grow by 8.0%. Moreover, rising domestic production capacity, spurred by the continuing investment in semiconductor manufacturing and reshoring companies, will support Taiwan’s export and investment growth.

All this data indicates that we should ideally look forward to a growing employment market in Taiwan, in keeping with a positive, yet cautious view.

Sources: CAN Focus Taiwan, Academia Sinica and The Directorate General of Budget, Accounting, and Statistics (DGBAS)

Contact the author, Irene Lin at irene-lin@cornerstone-group.com
Information on Cornerstone’s Executive Search Office in Taiwan