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Historic I.T. recruitment reversal

By Ross O. Storey | Jan. 20, 2010
Asia’s I.T. recruitment and employment market appears to be leading the world with a dramatic recovery in the past six months, to the extent that there may even be a return to a shortage of candidates for senior positions.

Examine compensation

“As such, it is important for organisations out there to start preparing for a talent short market and to rebuild recruitment competencies, refocus on talent attraction management and craft creative and effective top talent retention management and people development strategies.

Another aspect of importance to look at is compensation models and to make sure they are being calibrated with a fast-moving market in order to stay competitive.” Olofsson sees the potential for more of an interim management market to start developing.

“We have recently seen examples of that with organisations hiring senior executives on fixed term contracts to solve IT-related problems, turn around IT businesses or to open up new markets,” he says.

Global executive search firm, Egon Zehnder, one of the top five in the world, says 2009, the Year of the Ox, was definitely “a bear year”.

“Clearly, the financial services industry suffered most heavily, and the plans of many such institutions to expand their presence in Asia were put on hold or cancelled,” said Nick Chia, Egon Zehnder’s head of technology and communications practice, Asia Pacific.

“The semiconductor sector also suffered as it goes through increasingly short business cycles,” says Chia. “Other sectors were not spared, but they suffered less.

“IT executives who focused on infrastructure, the ‘supply’ side, were more at risk of being let go, and their functions were outsourced, and their management positions downgraded,” Chia says.

Re-hiring resuming

Egon Zehnder is seeing companies starting to hire senior IT executives again.

“We expect the financial services sector to recover and continue on the expansion into Asia that they started before being stopped by the economic downturn, particularly into regional hubs in Singapore, Shanghai and Hong Kong,” says Chia.

“For consumer product companies, we see India, China and Indochina (especially Vietnam) being geographic focus areas. Life science and pharmaceutical companies appear to be focusing on three major markets: Japan, China and India.”

Meg Ambrose, head of Heidrick & Struggles’ CIO practice in the Asia Pacific says 2009 has been “a challenging year for all”.

Ambrose says the year started with an emphasis on recruiting CIOs who could take cost out of the business and reduce IT spending. “This morphed over quarter two 2009 to a focus on CIOs who were very cost-conscious but also innovative and would focus on business process re-engineering as a way to streamline and deliver more efficiencies,” she says.  

Banks lead

Heidrick & Struggles has found that, in Asia, the third quarter has seen significant increased activity in IT hiring, especially for the investment banks. 

 

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