Q3 Quarterly Update 2013 – South East Asia

In my new role looking after South East Asia, I am particularly proud to report that Elliott Scott Singapore continued its growth story in quarter three of this year and can now fondly look towards a team of people that are trying to help us re-define how HR recruitment is practiced in this part of the world.

In terms of the market, there was a reduction in vacancies from the previous quarter but this was not a significant drop off as global economic sentiment started to pick up. Indeed this positive momentum will carry through to quarter four ensuring that that October and November will still have reasonable volumes of recruitment. Positions that were placed came from a variety of industries including advertising, healthcare, mining and banking with a sizable number being placed in insurance. There remain HR roles in banking but for the international corporate and investment banks these are somewhat limited due to both a restriction on headcount and a continued focus to hire internally. Roles placed were finely balanced between generalist and specialist positions, with a general tendency towards learning and talent positions and perhaps a more surprising number of amount recruitment roles than expected, given that hiring generally will be reducing over the remainder of 2013.

In addition to roles in Singapore we have also worked on a variety of roles within South East Asia being engaged on typically senior generalist positions in Malaysia and Thailand, and successfully closing positions in both countries.

The market continues to be client driven and due to greater availability of talent, companies have been quite specific in their requirements, as a result they have had a strong tendency to hire candidates from within their own industry. This of course makes our job more difficult although we believe that this equilibrium may change as we move into 2014 as a result of a stronger global economy. Singapore continues to be seen as an attractive destination to foreign based candidates so we are continuing to observe healthy numbers of visitors to the country looking for either permanent or interim work. Unfortunately, and with the MOM clamping down on entry, the supply of candidates currently outstrips the number of roles.

On this note, there has been a lot of rhetorical in the news by the Singapore government to restrict employment passes to foreigners, at the mid to senior end of the market we haven’t experienced too many problems as typically the non-Singaporean candidates we are placing are highly experienced, possess strong academics and have a track record of multinationals. However, anecdotally, we have heard of challenges being faced by some of our clients either recruiting or renewing employment passes for foreign workers at entry and junior levels. Like other recruitment agencies we look forward to hearing more on the government’s plans to create a job bank of vacancies giving priority to Singaporean candidates. We don’t anticipate too many problems with this as typically companies will only use a recruitment agency if they are already experiencing problems and delays hiring candidates. Indeed we believe it may even benefit recruitment agencies in the long run as it may mean that companies will have to engage recruiters to hire on their behalf for more confidential roles.

Should you have any questions on the market in South East Asia please feel free to contact me.

Vincent Romano

MD, South East Asia
+65 6493 1873

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