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Profile Legal & Compliance Market Update 2021

As our clients and candidates get used to the new normal in APAC, we’ve seen a surge in hiring so far in 2021. This was expected and is mainly driven by two things. Firstly, the pent-up demand from clients that paused hiring and held back headcounts in 2020, followed by optimism for the year ahead as the world recovers from the global pandemic.


We expect China to continue its growth trajectory in hiring, particularly as many multinational companies have started to move some of their regional layers to the mainland, adding to domestic growth. We are also seeing a rise in “out-of-the-box” hires as clients are more open to recruiting from outside their industries.

SIX HIRING TRENDS ACROSS APAC

1. DIGITAL, DIGITAL AND MORE DIGITAL

The urgency to advance tech during the pandemic has meant that from a digital perspective, organisations have had to adapt at a rate like never before. And to keep up with the rapid pace of technological change, the number of people applying with digital skills in APAC is set to see a five-fold increase (and then some) from 149 million workers today to 819 million in 2025.


To achieve this level of skilling in the region, the average worker will need to gain seven new digital skills by 2025, research from Amazon Web Services suggested. As a result, lawyers with technology exposure and/or the ability to support digitalisation initiatives are in high demand, everywhere.


Many legal teams have been working hard to sharpen their digital skills throughout the pandemic, with the ability to not just conduct data analysis, but present it using data visualisation, transforming how they work by providing invaluable insight. We expect this demand to continue over the coming months as businesses continue to get used to the new normal.


APAC is home to more than half of the world's internet users and according to estimates, 60% of the APAC region's GDP will be derived from digital products or services in 2021, with technologies adding 0.8% annual to GDP.



2. CANDIDATES ARE LOOKING

A lot of the workers who were fearful about changing jobs in 2020 because they didn’t want to be the “last in, first out”, are now willing to look elsewhere. The new normal is now, well, normal. And we’re seeing an uptick from the previous year (April 2020) in the number of professionals across APAC who intend to leave their current organisation within the next six to nine months.


Further, based on our annual surveys of over 3,000 professionals across APAC, our research from March 2021 showed that of those who have made a career move recently, 44% said it was due to a lack of career growth and developmental opportunities. As a result, organisations will need to ensure they develop and implement robust training programs and communicate this to jobseekers via their recruitment marketing activities.


  

% of respondents who indicated an intention to leave their current organisation in the near future



3. OUT-OF-THE-BOX HIRES RISING

Those in General Counsel and Head of Compliance roles are increasingly willing to hire from outside their industries. They are also focusing less on technical expertise and favouring stakeholder engagement skills instead. This is because the disruption associated with the pandemic meant many legal counsel professionals took on the role of strategic leaders and advisors within their businesses, and this will only carry on. Stakeholder engagement skills are now viewed as a desirable, if not key skill, as a result.



4. CAPITAL MARKETS BACK IN VOGUE

Firms are getting back to capital markets to fundraise. In addition, the ongoing volatility of global markets, coupled with the recent economic tensions between China and the US, will no doubt increase the number of local Chinese companies listed in the US seeking a secondary listing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. This means that legal counsels with capital markets experience will carry on being highly sought after in the region.



5. CHINA

The hiring of senior legal professionals has gone up as multinational companies continue to move their APAC operations to China. In fact, local internet giants have already been bolstering their in-house M&A legal talent to support future business growth. Meanwhile, the easing of Chinese regulations allowing foreign investors access to Chinese domestic markets has fuelled hiring across the board for bilingual legal & compliance professionals with asset and wealth management experience.


APAC has also recently seen a surge of domestic Chinese companies expanding their operations in the region. Many Chinese tech giants, such as TikTok, Alibaba and Tencent, have set up hubs in Singapore and the city-state is now seeing a talent crunch within the industry, underscoring the need for legal professionals with digital skills and experience.



​6. ASSET OWNERS/ MANAGERS

Asset owners/managers have been steadily expanding their investment capabilities, especially on the private side. This has resulted in a strong demand for private asset lawyers who specialise in private equity, real estate and credit.

HIRING HOTSPOTS FOR 2021

These are areas of high demand amongst our clients:

  • Mandarin-speaking Counsels & Compliance Officers

  • Asset & Wealth Management Compliance Officers

  • Data Privacy Legal & Compliance professionals

  • Counsels with in-house digital/ technology project management experience

  • Capital Market Lawyers

  • Counsels with in-house IPO experience

  • Legal & Compliance professionals with a solution-oriented mindset

RECENT PLACEMENTS BY PROFILE


ROLE

ORGANISATION

LOCATION     

Head of Legal and Compliance

European Healthcare Firm

Singapore

Senior Digital Legal Counsel

Insurance Firm

Singapore

APAC Head of Legal

Global Fund Manager

Singapore

Legal Counsel

Multi-Family Office

Singapore

Legal Counsel

Global Fund Manager

Singapore

IP Counsel

Global Luxury Brand

Singapore

Legal Manager

Real Estate Firm

Singapore

SG Head of Risk and Compliance

Fund Manager

Singapore

Director, Compliance

Global Infrastructure Fund

Singapore

VP, Compliance

Global Private Equity Fund

Singapore

APAC Head of Legal

European Fund Manager

Hong Kong         

Greater China Head of Compliance

US Private Equity Fund

Hong Kong

Greater Head of Compliance

US Fund Manager

Hong Kong

Hong Kong Head of Compliance

European Fund Manager

Hong Kong

Hong Kong Head of Compliance

US Brokerage

Hong Kong

APAC Head of Investment Compliance                         

US Fund Manager

Hong Kong

APAC Legal Counsel

European Fund Manager

Hong Kong

Legal Counsel

Global Insurance Firm

Hong Kong

Compliance Officer

Hedge Fund

Hong Kong

Legal & Compliance Officer

US Private Equity Fund                                

Hong Kong

Legal VP

TMT Company

China

Legal Counsel

European Luxury Brand

China

Legal Counsel                                                                   

Chinese Healthcare Company

China

Contracts Counsel, APAC

US Management Firm

China

Chief Compliance & Risk Officer

UK Asset Manager

China

Chief Compliance Officer

UK Asset Manager

China

Chief Compliance Officer

US Asset Manager

China

MD, CCO, AMC

US Asset Manager

China

Chief Compliance Officer, China AMC

US Asset Manager

China

Senior Legal & Compliance Counsel

US Asset Manager

China

AVP, Investment Compliance

US Asset Manager

China

Chief Compliance Officer

US Asset Manager

China

Senior Compliance Manager

Global Asset Manager

China

VP, Compliance

Global Asset Manager

China

Compliance Analyst

US Asset Manager

China

MD, Chief Compliance Officer, JV WMC

US Asset Manager

China

Head of Compliance

UK Asset Manager

China

VP, Compliance, JV WMC

US Asset Manager

China

Director, Compliance

Global Infrastructure Fund

China

VP, Compliance

Global Private Equity Fund

China


KEY CONTACTS

For more information or individually tailored advice, please do not hesitate to contact our regional Legal & Compliance team:

Hong Kong Office - please contact Sonny Wong

Singapore Office - please contact Suan Wei Yeo

Shanghai Office - please contact Andy Zhi or Sophia Sun



Click here to download the full report.



Sources: New report: Asia Pacific workforce applying digital skills will need to increase five-fold by 2025 | AWS Public Sector Blog (amazon.com)

Author

Profile, A WilsonHCG Company

Date

May 2021

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