Experienced HR professionals have an array of career choices open to them

Author: Kate Whitehead | Date: 20 Jan 2016

It’s a great time to be in HR in Asia, says Hays Quarterly Report

It’s a great time to be in HR in Asia, according to the latest Hays Quarterly Report (January to March 2016).
A favourable economic outlook, combined with increasing specialisation in the HR sector, means many senior HR professionals across the region are seriously assessing their job options.
In Hong Kong, the HR recruitment sector is seeing a demand for learning and development and talent manager practitioners across all industries, finds the report. As organisations step up their dealings with China, the report also notes a demand for more HR staff who can speak and write Mandarin.
While the banking and financial services industry in Hong Kong is facing some belt tightening, there is rise in demand for HR executives with APAC exposure who have experience of private banking, equities, markets and transaction banking.
With many staff considering looking for new positions, employers would be wise to manage bonus expectations, says Christine Wright, managing director of Hays in Asia. “We are seeing business partners and senior talent acquisition candidates, in particular, looking for a possible job change in the upcoming quarter,” she says. “Employers that are hiring at this time of year need to consider sign-on bonuses for those candidates willing to move and give up their bonus from existing employers.”
In Malaysia, many HR executives are also likely to be open to changing jobs for better pay. The Hays report identifies those with strong skills in strategic planning and execution, and compensation and benefits, as the most in demand. Other sought-after specialisations include organisational development, career development and learning and development - all of which help attract top talent.
The outlook is upbeat in Singapore too, where the trend for organisations to move their headquarters to the Lion City continues, creating more jobs. HR professionals who are experienced enough to manage stakeholders are especially hot property. There’s also a rise in popularity of contracting and temporary roles, which give ‘buy time’ as professionals hunt for a choice position.
In Japan, temporary HR roles are in short supply and the demand for them is intense. The report recommends that organisations offer to pay temporary HR staff generously - suggesting the same wage as permanent staff receive, plus add-ons such as social insurance - to fill the gap.
Also in short supply in Japan are junior HR executives – those with about five years experience. This is because foreign firms are reluctant to hire and develop fresh graduates, instead relying on mid-career hiring.
“Graduates who go into HR at local organisations often lack English skills and have no experience of a business-partner role. Combined with Japan’s aging population and workforce, this creates real competition for any talent in the post-five to 10 years’ graduation bracket,” says Wright.