Elliott Scott HR Quarterly Review – Q2 2012

As I write this I can officially announce that we are now one year old as a business. It’s been an incredible journey that has seen us go from a 3 person recruitment business to Hong Kong’s biggest HR recruitment firm with 7 people in Hong Kong. We have also set up our operation in Singapore, which will continue to grow over the course of the year. In the past 6 months we have been lucky enough to have 4 new joiners to the team:

Doris Lam

– ex-Michael Page who has joined us to develop our Industry & Commerce practice in Hong Kong and China. Doris is tri-lingual, with a host of contacts in the Commerce space.

Dorit Ingber

– Dorit has joined us from an HR background where she was previously an HR Business Partner within Financial Services.

Carman Hui

– Carman is our Researcher on the ground in Hong Kong and additionally supports us in Singapore.

Vincent Romano

– Vincent joins from Robert Walters, having recruited across HR for the last 7years in both in Hong Kong and Singapore. Vincent will be based in Singapore.

Hong Kong & Singapore

Banking, Finance & Professional

This has continued to be a troubled space with clients more interested in making cuts than growing their HR functions. The one area that has been slightly protected is that of insurance and companies who have been focused on growing in developing locations throughout Asia. Recruitment of generalists and business partners has been steady with more candidates looking in the market due to the uncertainty of the sector. Within the Centre of Excellence we have seen a marked rise in the number of recruiters coming onto our books and have had significant success in upgrading talent while reducing the overall salary of the headcount in some cases. Now is a great time to assess your talent and look externally if you believe you have people under-performing. Graduate Recruiters continue to be in demand, with no real change in Compensation & Benefits focused positions. We have seen a greater demand for people who possess strong project management skills, with Change Management and HRIS implementation specialists in demand for year-long contract roles.

Industry & Commerce

We continue to be busy in this space, with Retail and Luxury goods leading the way with further growth in China. We have also started to see a number of candidates from the Finance sector wanting to move into this area, which is potentially pushing up salaries while also increasing the competition and quality. This can only be a good thing long term but clients do need to be wary and assess whether this is just a fad due to the current market conditions in Finance. China, specifically tier 1 cities, continues to see rising salaries. In some cases the increased candidate competition in Hong Kong has made it cheaper to hire here rather than in China. Generalists and Business Partners continue to be most in demand; however, companies are becoming more developed across these sectors leading to a growing Centre of Excellence function. For Hong Kong and China focused roles there is a continual need for either Cantonese or Mandarin language skills, although this is less of an issue in Singapore. Organisational Design and Change Management has become a topic of note in Singapore and we would encourage specialists in this space to contact us if interested to hear more about roles there.

Overseas Candidates

There is still an appetite for high quality HR professionals from overseas, but candidates need to realize that the competition is greater than ever as we continue to operate in a truly client focused market. The exchange rate for Australian candidates is a large hindrance and they are seen as 80% more expensive than they were in 2006 when I first arrived in Asia. For Hong Kong, if you don’t possess Asian language skills you need to have specific Finance experience to even stand a chance. In Singapore, language is less of an issue and we’re seeing a demand for mid-level OD and Change consultants. The biggest piece of advice that I can give is for candidates to be patient, talk to us now with a grander plan to potentially move here in 2013. The more we know you, the easier it is for us to sell you further down the line.


Conditions in 2012 will remain challenging, specifically in Banking & Finance, however there are roles out there and we are increasingly finding that good candidates will still have options in the market. Senior level hiring has slowed and the majority of hires appear to happening at the junior to mid-level range. Direct sourcing continues to be pushed heavily internally, however we still maintain that we are here to work alongside these functions and provide clients with options that wouldn’t necessarily apply direct. We are there to work with our clients and would encourage people to allow us to demonstrate what we can do; being a pure HR recruitment firm allows us to have a greater sense of sensitivity than our more generic recruitment competitors.

Upcoming Events

We are currently putting final touches to a seminar for Q3 on the topic of social media. We have a guest lined up to talk us through the history of social media and look to relate this back to what clients are doing today and how they can make the most of it. If you are interested in attending please let me know. This will be a small gathering and we would look to host 4 sessions with a maximum of 5 clients at each session. It will last no longer than an hour.

Thank you again for your continued support, and please do not hesitate to contact me should you have any questions.

Best regards.

Stuart Elliott

Managing Director

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