Julie Nicol, managing consultant, Digby Morgan Dubai (JN):
The recruitment market is buoyant at the mid-level and there are a number of solid senior roles coming through; both regional head and group roles for larger local business with an international presence.
(AR): In the Middle East, the HR market is an unusual mixture of old-school ‘personnel departments’, focusing purely on administration, and contemporary HR teams providing strategic guidance and leadership for their organisation.
Although there appears to be an increasing trend towards the creation of commercial and business-focused HR departments, evidenced by the increasing demand for HR business partner expatriates, the challenge remains to educate firms who stick resolutely to the purely administrative HR function.
Leith Ramsay, director, Michael Page Middle East (LR):
We’re seeing lots of movement in the market caused by investment from resource rich governments spending on key infrastructure projects and multinational organisations maximising on emerging market growth opportunities.
(AR): Asia Pacific HR markets are varied. The Asian countries are arguably performing better than their Pacific region counterparts, with skills shortages arising out of the industry’s development, rather than as a reaction to the economic situation.
Barney Ely, director, Hays Human Resources (BE):
Hong Kong: Over the past year we’ve seen steady demand for HR professionals across all industry sectors, with greater emphasis also placed on HR at a strategic level. Demand for talent and employee development professionals has risen as employers focus on staff retention, and skilled trainers to oversee the regional development of employees at all levels.
China: Most employers are seeking talent to assist them with the expansion of their businesses, along with replacement roles. We expect to see new jobs being created as companies centralise their HR functions in head offices.
Japan: The beginning of the year is often a quiet period for HR recruitment as many HR departments are occupied with year-end tax adjustments, headcount forecasting and bonus payments. Any new roles being created are focused on immediate business needs such as critical replacements, or hiring for next quarter headcount.
Joanne Chua, director – HR division, Robert Walters Asia (JC):
Employers are adopting a cautiously optimistic stance within the Singapore job market as they assess global economic sentiments. They’re likely to make critical or replacement hires; much fewer growth-related roles unless their businesses pose a particular demand.
(AR): The focus is largely on moving previously outsourced functions in-house, a nod to the recent difficulties and the need for cost efficiency moving forwards. The pharmaceutical, healthcare and telecommunications sectors are leading this HR revolution, with FMCG and media following. All sectors are seeing an increased influx of HR professional expatriates as in-house staff retention and management becomes an issue of recognised importance.
(BE): Due to the continued uncertainty in the European markets and following the lead up to Chinese New Year, the first few weeks of 2012 have been slower than usual as key recruitment is put on hold due to headcount issues within global organisations.
David Owens, MD, HR Partners (DO):
Australia’s recruitment market has slowed since the middle of 2011– there’s still a perception of a skills shortage. Few people seem to have decided to go about job seeking, so the experience is quite positive, and likely to remain so as long as the economic climate remains as buoyant as it is right now.
(AR): Australia’s HR market is currently facing a major talent issue, as companies continue to compete for a very limited selection of professionals. There’s a shortage across the market, particularly in resource, retention and industrial relations – an increasingly thorny issue for a country that recently reached a seven-year peak of industrial action.
Christine Trybus, associate director, Digby Morgan Europe (CT):
Europe has been reasonably buoyant considering the Euro:
- Germany is the most active; recruiting HR professionals, up-skilling HR departments, predominantly business partners.
- French companies are outsourcing and in sourcing, anticipating changes in taxation later this year and understandably risk-averse, holding recruitment decisions until after the summer.
- In the Netherlands and Belgium, we have a number of specialist roles however some companies are focusing work more on in the Middle East and Far East.
- Greece, Portugal, Italy and Spain are off the recruitment map for the moment.
Stephen Menko, director, Ortus HR (SM):
It’s a steady market with most permanent roles coming from replacement rather than growth. However, industries such as oil and gas continue to grow and we’re seeing a lot of mid-level recruitment for interim positions and fixed-term contracts. The high street’s disappointing Christmas sales figures has hit the headlines because of a difficult holiday trading period, but this hasn’t prevented some retailers from growing in the final part of 2011.
Alex Woolgar, managing partner, Inception Partners (AW):
We’re seeing a strong uptake in interim management – an area to watch in 2012. IT services and outsourcing (specifically business process outsourcing) are also growing. This comes as a result of both clients and the commerce sector as a whole trying to drive down costs in operations, minimising any high costs for people or equipment, as well as improving a company’s flexibility.
The move to a focus on e-commerce which has grown rapidly with increasingly widespread use of online services will continue to rise throughout the year.
Jonathan Wiles, managing director, Michael Page Human Resources (JW):
Recruitment has been primarily driven by churn rather than investment over the last 18 months; a typical trend within HR in this type of market cycle. Unemployment of six months or more within the HR community is still very low so there remains an on-going demand for experienced practitioners in what is a well-developed and mature market.
(AR): The UK market’s not as terrible as is frequently portrayed; however on-going instability has created a generally sluggish talent flow. The hiring process has slowed to walking pace – companies are now spending an increasing amount of time on the recruitment procedure, with some roles being stretched out over months as organisations look to find their ideal HR professional in a market where sought-after skills are not easy to come by.
There’s an overall skills shortage in the UK, especially in the financial services sector. Companies are also struggling to find HR professionals specialising in graduate recruitment and compensation & benefits.