HR Recruitment in Asia opportunities or just optimism?

Written by
Changeboard Team

14 Dec 2013

14 Dec 2013 • by Changeboard Team

Focusing on Asia

Across the globe as the economic climate continues to change, the focus continuously shifts back to China and the Asia Pacific region. With Asia as a whole showing signs of growth and development, there is a real attraction for HR professionals to explore the increasing opportunities now available in this area. But will the latest observations lead to real opportunities or is it simply economic optimism?

Low unemployment trends in Asia

It's widely recognised that Asia in particular came out of the global financial crisis stronger and faster than the US and Europe. And it is no surprise then that the region appears to be the best in terms of recovery with some economic levels coming close to post financial crisis rates. At Macmillan Davies Hodes our relationships in Asia give us the opportunity to explore the trends in the region which are affecting our industry and the HR marketplace.

Looking at aspects affecting HR recruitment in Asia, it's encouraging to see that unemployment levels remain relatively low and are showing continued signs of decrease, with levels in Hong Kong as low as 3.2% this month, the lowest in 3 years.

With these levels decreasing, the local talent pool will begin to shrink, putting increasing pressure on employer branding and value proposition. As competition for the top talent increases, organisations in the area will need to look closely at how they retain and attract talent, giving HR departments the opportunity to step up to the challenge.

Increased demand in FS & legal

For expatriate HR professionals in the region, there has been a slight increase in demand particularly within the financial and legal sectors, as the local home-grown talent pool tightens. The one exception is China, where the recent introduction of a policy requiring overseas employees working in China to pay a large percentage of their salary to the government social security fund has led to a decline in expatriate posts.

Salary, bonus and ‘job title’ inflation is becoming increasingly prevalent across Asia. We are seeing a rise in salaries and bonuses for HR professionals, with a 10% salary increment being the norm. Bonuses were particularly high in HR professionals, with 60% of HR professionals in Shanghai receiving a bonus of 10% or more this year – a figure we expect to increase further during early 2012 given current market conditions. China is well renowned for ‘job title inflation’ where in Shanghai, for example, one third of HR professionals across all sectors and levels received a salary increment of at least 10%. However, with offers of 20–30% available, job hopping is increasing once again.

What does this mean for employers?

As these trends put more pressure on the regional talent pool and employee retention levels, it will become vital for prospective employers to capture the imaginations of future employee’s through a strong employer brand, sound hiring processes and competitive salaries.

Opportunities for HR professionals

The increase we are seeing in multiple job offers to candidates is a clear indication that the market will only get more competitive as demand for experienced HR professionals outstrips supply.

This market insight gives an indication that there are a not only currently a number of opportunities for HR professionals in the Asia region, but that these opportunities are likely to increase in the near future. The challenge now is what HR can do in the region to aid organisations in the competition for the best talent.