Q4 Quarterly Update 2013 – South East Asia

Quarter 4 was a pleasantly strong quarter for Elliott Scott Singapore. This was due in part to our growing presence here, as we move into our 3rd year in Singapore, and partly due to an increasingly buoyant market. Notably, we had a number of engagements for contract positions, varying in length from three months to one year, which made December a surprisingly busy month in for us in terms of activity. This is also a sign of a recruitment market picking up as it usually occurs only when the market is more bullish with companies keen to utilise headcount.

In terms of positions that we received, in banking and finance most of our roles were for the centres of excellence, where we closed jobs in change management, learning and development, global mobility and recruitment, although we also place a few senior HR generalist roles as well. Interestingly, probably half of these roles we received in banking and finance were newly created headcounts which again is another positive indicator for the market. In commerce and industry we received a lot more in the HR generalist/business partner capacity and is in keeping with our experience for the rest of 2013. It is also worth noting the variety of industries which includes advertising, market research, FMCG, IT&T and HR consulting. Meanwhile insurance is an industry where we made multiple placements with a number of international companies, who are marketing themselves much more positively as employers of choice and as a result are competing with banks more effectively for talent than in pre-financial crisis years.

Looking ahead to 2014, we anticipate the market pick up after Chinese New Year in early February but we have been pleasantly surprised with the number of engagements already this year. A lot of these positions are in shared services/HR operations emphasising a need for local HR knowledge but curiously we have noticed an increased trend for even senior HR generalist positions to have a working knowledge of labour law across the countries the positions where they have responsibility for. Subsequently, Singapore continues to be considered favourably as a destination for overseas candidates, however, a lack of HR knowledge and increasingly stricter visa controls provide a barrier to entry. As such, we find that it is candidates in more niche HR specialisations such as graduate recruitment and compensation and benefits who are able to secure positions from abroad. With this in mind we have been encouraging overseas candidates to come visit Singapore after the Lunar New Year in order to network with potential employers and increase their chances of finding a role here.

We have also been engaged on several lateral recruitment roles, which again suggests a positive market for 2014. In anticipation of a more positive market we hired two consultants in the previous quarter, William Lee, who focuses purely on positions in Malaysia, and Windsor Low, who will support junior roles in Singapore across both banking and commerce.

If you have any questions on the SEA market, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Vincent Romano, Managing Director, SEA
+65 6493 1873

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