Q4 Quarterly Update - 2012

Business News - Elliott Scott

While market conditions continue to be tricky we have been fortunate enough to push on with our expansion plans in Asia Pacific and now into Latin America. Hong Kong remains our largest location to date, although we have been able to hire an additional Manager and Researcher for our Singapore office. Sharon Wong joins us with an extensive recruitment background from Talent 2 where she led the HR function there. Jiemin Xu will support both Vincent and Sharon with their South Asia research.

January 2013 also saw us open our office in Brazil with the hire of Andre Magro from Hays HR. Andre started life as an internal HR practitioner before moving into Marketing and then into HR agency recruitment. This is a great move for us as a business and we’re excited to be talking to clients about their global plans now rather than just Asia Pacific. A further announcement will be made on this in the coming weeks.

Hong Kong & China

Hong Kong remains a decidedly tricky market with some sectors still targeting extensive growth while others look to downsize in order to remain competitive. Banking and Finance is still a tough area and we have seen yet further consolidation of Experienced Hire recruitment teams, we don’t predict that this will change any time soon. Recruiters are advised to tread cautiously if they are looking to make a move at the minute. Even in commerce, hiring of recruiters has reduced and there has been a slight uptick in the number of clients potentially looking at people open to contracts. Business Partner hiring remains sporadic, with a lot of clients intending to hire but essentially offering people internally who can grow rather than bringing someone in who can “hit the ground running”. Cost remains a thought in all of our clients hiring processes right now. Other specialist functions have stayed very flat and clients with a headcount to hire, are taking far longer to fill positions.

To summarise, Hong Kong is still a “sticky” market with placements possible, providing a client has exhausted all options internally and externally.

China remains the place to be in the long term. We are still hearing a number of cautious notes on the country in terms of short term growth, however long term, everyone knows that they have to be there and need to be preparing now. Industry and Commerce is by far the biggest growth area in China, which means that we are always looking for strong candidates with fantastic English and Mandarin language skills. Gradually, specialist HR functions are being built out and people with excellent Centre of Excellence attributes are in greater demand.


While Singapore doesn’t appear to be as buoyant as it was early in 2012 there are still a number of opportunities that remain open for people that are on the ground. Banking and finance remains relatively busy, businesses have grown here over the years and this growth is still affecting the HR market. Roles still exist although there is increased competition for them, as well as salaries facing stiff pressure from a strong Singapore Dollar, essentially making it more attractive to people from overseas. Commerce remains a robust area with a lot of clients keen to take advantage of talent moving out of finance but having some of the “best practice” skills that have flooded that market over the last few years. It remains difficult for a lot of clients to compete on salaries but we have seen a number of people take roles in this area in order to broaden their experience. It remains to be seen whether money will be an enticing factor as finance starts to recover.

Overall, the Singapore job market remains strong, especially for candidates that are on the ground and actively looking.

Recent Trends

• More candidates have started to look outside of traditionally attractive sectors like finance.
• LinkedIn continues to demonstrate its power, however more recently we have seen a lot more cases of people rejecting offers because expectations weren’t managed from the outset. Candidates appear to be turning roles down because internal recruiters have been so keen to save money that the job was over-sold and the true job nature was only explained at the 3rd or 4th stage.

In both cases above we believe that it adds even greater value to having an intermediary that clients and candidates can trust.


Q1 will remain slow, this is a notoriously difficult time of the year for HR folk with a number of clients going through their performance review processes. For the rest of 2013 the crystal ball still looks clouded, however there are signs or at least feelings that the worst is now over and that we might see greater activity in Q2 and Q3.

Thank you again to everyone that has continued to work with us over the last year and half.

Stuart Elliott

Global MD

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