In the Macmillan Davies magazine, ‘HR Insight Q2 2018’, Profile's Amanda Clarke shares her thoughts on HR recruitment trends in Asia. The article is extracted below.
"After a mixed end to 2017, the first quarter of 2018 has been relatively active. We are continuing to see businesses promoting internally, which has resulted in a slow down at the more senior end of the market but a rise in demand for junior and mid-level professionals. Temporary to permanent and fixed-term contracts that offer more flexibility whilst organisations navigate through uncertain times and try to predict demand internally remain popular at all levels, which slightly bucks the wider market trend favouring permanent hires over contracts. The city is reporting growth in permanent hires, up 11% against the same period, and is predicting that financial services will emerge largely unscathed from Brexit, with fewer job losses than originally predicted. However, many of our clients remain cost conscious when hiring but we still find there is flexibility when competing for the best talent.
Demand for strong regulatory experience continues, with GDPR still impacting the workforce. We saw a huge spike in demand towards the end of last year with businesses rushing to hire to ensure compliance, often on a temporary or contract basis. Following the deadline for gender pay gap reporting, HR functions are thinking more seriously about diversity & inclusion, which has resulted in a demand for related specialists.
The market for generalist roles remains steady, for both interim and permanent, particularly within the senior commerce sector. On the interim side we are seeing a number of requests for practitioners experienced in establishing an HR function in SME’s as well as an increase in the number of contract candidate registrations at the senior level.
The trend for specialists continues with learning & development and reward positions still being high, with many clients prioritising relevant sector experience too.
At the junior end of the market, we have seen an increase in permanent generalist roles (circa £35-40k salary) for the first time in over a year, where lower level roles (£25 - £30k) still remain in high demand."
Darren Hayman & Angela Franks - Macmillan Davies
“Interestingly, the market began to pick up markedly from October 2017 and continues to be extremely buoyant through Q1 2018. Even in some of the typically quietest months of December and January, we took on a number of new mandates that were additional headcounts, notably including front office recruitment positions. Of particular interest has been specialist roles including recruitment, talent management, and HRIS/ HR operations positions. As the market has tightened, clients are starting to look further afield (beyond Asia) and be more flexible with their requirements.
There is also an increased dissatisfaction in the workplace; more candidates are open to a move (than this time last year), many believe they are not being adequately developed in their current firm, are disengaged by ongoing office politics and in many cases hanker after better leadership.
Work/life balance remains an important attraction and retention tool, to such an extent that candidates in some instances will forgo an increase in compensation in favour of a flexible working arrangement. Not only has the market picked up in financial services, but also across FMCG, luxury and mass market retail.
Up from 2017, base salary increases and bonuses seem to have fared moderately better across the board. That said, given the confidence in the market, we are seeing candidates’ expectations on compensation increase. Typically candidates can expect to see a 10 to 15% base increase to move companies, but in this climate, the numbers could exceed this. Notably, we have recently seen a number of clients buy-out notice periods and bonuses in an effort to expedite the process and ensure candidates start within the first quarter of 2018.
Having taken on (and completed) an unprecedented number of mandates in the first quarter of 2018, we are led to believe that the pickup in the market is set to continue through 2018. Becoming wise to the shortage of available talent, candidates will also become increasingly demanding on their salary expectations and overall packages.
Clients who can move their recruitment processes quickly, be creative with total and holistic compensation packages, and who ultimately can recognise that each candidate has individual/unique needs, will be the winners in this refreshingly busy but candidate-short market."
Amanda Clarke - Profile Search & Selection
"The first quarter of 2018 started like many in Australia, with the post-Christmas holidays in full swing and a much quieter recruitment market. Australia Day on 25th January again acted as a watershed with the HR recruitment market picking up significantly in February and March. Both permanent and contract opportunities saw significant uplifts in the east coast capital cities. Combined with this increase in demand, we also saw demand in particular segments of the market be well ahead of supply. This has meant that for some, HR professionals have had plenty of career opportunities to choose from, and caused some salary inflation in certain areas. However, this has not been as apparent in the senior market where supply is still outstripping demand.
In both NSW and Queensland, HR opportunities grew by 12.8% over the last 12 months, whilst in Victoria growth was a heady 17.1%. As a result of this growth in Victoria, the demand for mid-career HR generalists has outstripped supply, making it a very challenging market for companies to hire talent. It has required organisations to move at pace to secure talent, as these individuals are often juggling 4 to 5 excellent opportunities, as well as really engage talent in the opportunity on offer.
A similar situation is apparent in the junior market in Queensland and the mid-market in Sydney. The knock-on effect of such a strong permanent market at these levels has been the difficulty in acquiring short-term contract talent, as this market is usually well served by permanent candidates filling a gap between roles. On numerous occasions, placements of short-term talent are falling over, as they secure permanent opportunities.
As the Australian market now enters the final quarter of the financial year, the expectation is that demand will remain strong. The final quarter is traditionally one of the strongest of the year, and if it follows through as expected, the demand for scarce talent will continue, and put pressure on employers to ensure that their offer is compelling. Many candidates though, in the junior and mid markets, are making choices based on development and career opportunities, and are not just making a short-term financial decision."