Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Jobs are back in Asia !!

"I have been on the dashboard for over two decades now-and I cannot remember more than 4 or 5 occasions when we had more job enquiries than members seeking opportunities for their candidates! And over the last few weeks I have had at least 4 looking at positions to fill in Asia"! 

Those words were gushed by Marcia Bateman, Member Services Manager, NPA, The Worldwide Recruiting Network- (that me- and over 400 other recruitment firms -across 25 countries are associates of- )as we had our monthly conference call yesterday. The call is an excuse for some of us to share the various mandates that we Asia members to touchbase occasionally and chat up, as we share the mandates we need help on-as well as trade insights on the latest trends and best practices thereof!

And before long -some of the HOT openings we shared -were spread across different industries! 

But as one always is taught..the devil is in the detail

Let me explain by listing out a few of the opportunities (in the order of those who talked on the call..!)

-Marketing Director for Metals/Paint company in Malaysia -local candidate
-Sales Manager, Shanghai, for a Malaysian based Food testing company
-Expat Executive Chef for a 5star hotel group in Seoul
-Financial Controller in Jakarta ( for an Indonesian native with US CPA qualification)
-Head Infrastructure for an IT major in Manila ( local native!!)
-CFO Shanghai for a US MNC (with knowledge of English & Mandarin)
-In house legal counsel for a leading law firm in HongKong (familiar with local laws in China & the region)

Psst: let me know if you know anyone who would fit, and I shall connect you to the right person-and help folks live out their dreams!!

Believe me-each one of those pay very competitive salaries -upwards of $100K USD with benefits etc-but one cannot miss the irony- the roles are no longer for generalists- but for specialists with a niche expertise AND local experience-with an international qualification/experience!!

Of course, there are a whole bunch of positions open in the US- but most companies are reluctant to process work visas-and would ideally not pay relocation charges. ( An increasing trend to encourage better premium for local candidates!?)

Even before the end of the day, yesterday, I got a couple of more enquiries:

-A referral from a Chinese associate of mine-for his Cyprus based client- wanting to hire some sales professionals for Europe-with professionals of Indian, Korean and Vietnamese origin!!
- An erstwhile Israeli client in the telecom sector-wanting to hire technical service professionals to be based in Thailand-post an acquisition of another company in the domain-and wanting to expand their network!

Phew..all in a days work!! Mandates are definitely ON. Maybe I should be get used to looking for techniques to find needles in a haystack more :)!

Any ideas on how I should be reacting to the news..that jobs are back ?!!Is there something I am missing? Ideas most welcome...

PS. Companies are just not willing to hire fast as people willing to change!!

( Am stumped by over 1300 responses to a Center Director/ 500plus for a HR manager role posted-with less than 2% of the applicants in the zone!!)

Friday, January 13, 2012

Jobs in India: Cautious Optimism!?

Over the past week or so, all the majors in the hiring sector in India- have come up with surveys -finally admitting that the hiring in the last quarter has declined-and that there is a likelyhood that things would not be too different in the coming quarter.

The Wall Street Journal blog post " Who is hiring in 2012?" probably sums up the scenario best. Others play around with data & try to look for positive indices, attributed the dip due to end of the year holiday season, while one even hints at an upbeat in India hiring as 71% companies are more active!

As a recruitment practitioner for over two decades now, I have been, in hindsight, fortunate to be part of the employment sentiments -before the liberalisation happened in early 90s in India, and have absorbed the vibrations of several different cycles of sunrise industries -going through their life cycles-helping me have a fair grip on the pulse of the job market -as one is constantly in touch with the expectations of the employer & the aspiring employees.

I feel -somewhere-as a community-we aren't ready to grow up and accept the reality. Globalisation!

At the macro level, all of our lives are being increasingly affected by the events across the globe & denting the business sentiments/confidence levels. Be it the variation in the Dollar Rupee variation, they do have an impact on the Indian economy too-and the expectations of all the stakeholders in the ecosystem- investors, businessmen, governments-and their ability to afford or even put off consumption.

Indian GDP and manufacturing growth has slowed down.
Elevated inflation levels for a prolonged duration.
High interest rates
And yes, the sudden consciousness of  the pervasion of 'corruption' has its say too. Nearer to Hyderabad, the increased attention for CBI into the nexus of politicians & businessmen ( must admit it isn't polarised to any single party-each one has its own share of skeletons in their cupboards yet to be disclosed !!) has seen drying up of any major expansion plans/new projects.

I see different reactions from different employers trying to get themselves out of this rut :

-Some have resorted to severe cost cutting

*Rightsized their employee strength over the last few quarters.
*Review the ratio of managers & those who execute.
*Stop back filling of positions that have arisen due to attrition
*Increasingly insisting on the employees to serve out the entire duration of 2/3 months -once they put in their papers-as it means better utilisation of trained talent for that stretch-as well as review the impact of the handover
*Change the hiring mix: hire a lot of entry level employees to bring down the cost

-while others have exploring avenues for growth of revenue also

*investing in alliances to leverage on collective strengths
*innovating processes and delivery
*changing customer mix
*moving into new markets
* looking for getting "More out of Less".

All this means -there is an increasing emphasis on the quality of hiring being done.

-Companies no longer resort to hiring 'tresspassers' or even the best among those immediately visible-but are willing to wait for the right person who could be a game changer!

-Cherry picking is the mantra! Companies are willing to pay extra for those 'game changers' who can 'do the extra'.

In such a scenario, it is surprising to see quite a lot of prospective hires rule themselves out-as perhaps they are outbidding themselves :

-some returning Indians expecting an expat salary while wanting a piece of the India action
-some pitching themselves at the salary that their bosses get- without having the ability to deliver as much. I think that's is a story that needs a separate blog post :)!

And all this-when as a recruiter, I am seeing more applicants than ever before..for most positions I am soliciting for.

Would you believe it..I got over a few hundred respondents to a "Centre Director' role that I advertised for...even though the spec was very clear & the client is looking for the proverbial 'needle in the haystack'!!

Cautious Optimism : is it an oxymoron ? Or mere euphemism? I shall be glad to have your views...

Monday, January 02, 2012

Right place at the right time!

Great time to review : Is our future linked to the places where the action is likely to be?

In March 2011 McKinsey Quarterly published this report on the Global Cities of the future.

Please click for the extremely educative & interesting interactive link here to be in sync of perhaps how the  World will look like -in a little over a dozen years from now!!

Middleweight companies in Emerging Markets are poised to deliver more growth than the entire developed world and the mega cities in the Emerging markets combined!! ie 400 cities like Casablanca, Chengdu, Nagpur, Sharjah, Vadodara, & Visakhapatnam, among others are likely to contribute to the 40% of the global growth in the next 15yrs.

Things worth mulling over..atleast for the future of our children?

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Connecting the dots

A few hours into 2012, I reflect on the year that went past. 

In my first blog post of last year, I had wished 2011 to be a year of consolidation . It was. But not in the way I would have imagined. Then.

The changing business dynamics,globally at the pace at which it did, meant that one needed to re-invent the way one operated and learn new tricks to stay relevant.

Companies are no longer content hiring the best person in sight-and rightly so, are willing to invest in the right person who can be making that game changing difference. As professionals, we have to focus on just getting those few things right always-and stay ahead of the learning curve.

I am grateful that, personally & professionally, it was a year of greatest transformation. Challenging a lot of things that were 'accepted as norm', I am glad I am following my heart & intuition. 

1. Adding value to a few select clientele -and improve quality of hiring.

2. Aiding the recruitment fraternity -both corporate as well as third party recruiters, by sharing the best practices & knowledge management to enhance the quality of every hire

3. Attempting to being a trusted advisor to some discerning professionals who want to take charge and navigate their careers better.

We continue on the journey as  talent architects...

In 2012, I am committed to exploring opportunities for co-creation of services & orchestrate the network of relationships built so far... to improve the overall impact -to the organisations we closely have been partnering with, as well as making a difference to the individuals I can!