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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.

“Many of the regional CIOs have commented that they cut hard, fast and deep at the onset of the GFC [global financial crisis], with the expectation that they would not be rehiring for at least 18 months,” Ambrose says. “However, the market recovery in Asia has occurred much quicker than anticipated and hence, the level of hiring going on currently is competitive and bringing up compensation levels quickly, especially at the VP level.  

“Additionally, in the project office across Asia, again, we have seen increased activity as postponed projects get kicked off with the focus being on cost reduction and innovation around business efficiencies. Project managers are in high demand. 

“Middle and back office operations have seen a lot of rationalisation but are back-hiring strategic positions, or promoting internally where possible.” 

Looking to the year ahead, Ambrose says that “given the downscaling that has gone on, we are likely to see greater thought on smarter operations, for example, the use of shared services centres is likely to increase to more parts of the operations value chain, such as payroll, HR, expense management”.

Scale is the key

“Resourcing will start to be outsourced too, as scale is key here,” she says. “So emphasis is on head of shared services, business services and corporate services positions.”

From the technology perspective, Ambrose expects more emphasis on strong program managers to run PMOs across all industries. “We believe we will continue to see the CIO/CTO combination,” Ambrose says. “A commercially focused CIO who doesn’t necessarily have the technology background, coupled with a strong CTO who can implement the strategic plan.”   

The Hudson Report, for quarter four 2009 surveyed 2,000 key employment decision makers in August this year from multinational organisations in China (Beijing and Shanghai), Hong Kong and Singapore.

Hudson, a professional staffing, outsourcing and human capital solutions group, found that overall, hiring expectations in China were rising for the first time in more than a year. Some 39 per cent of Chinese firms forecast headcount growth, a more than 10 per cent increase on expectations for the same quarter in 2008.

The Hudson Q4 2009 Report found that Hong Kong has the largest rise in expectations, to 35 per cent this quarter and the proportion of employers expecting to retrench staff is lower than in the other markets.

Increased headcount

In Singapore, 34 per cent of respondents planned to increase headcount in the fourth quarter, compared with 26 per cent in quarter three. The proportion forecasting staff reductions has fallen sharply, from 14 per cent to five per cent.


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