HR Demand / Supply review 2010

As 2010 draws to a close, we look back at the Asia Talent HR Indices for the year and see how demand and supply of candidates has evolved and its implications on the recruitment business in Asia.  Firstly it is evident that the supply of candidates continues to outstrip vacancies by a significant margin.  While this is still partly a consequence of the fallout from the GFC (e.g. resulting in headcount freezes), Asia has quite different characteristics compared to other regions.   Where in Asia there is far more staff mobility around the region, European research industries see far less of this mobility.  We still see plenty of supply of candidates from India and the Philippines looking to various destinations around the region, and both expats and locals seeking new opportunities in new markets.

The overall supply of ‘active’ candidates as a proportion to vacancies has ranged from about six to ten to-one.  The recent rise to over ten-to-one is an influx of new candidates preparing themselves for a move in 2011, anticipating a wave of new opportunities in the New Year.  However, many of these opportunities are already here.  What we have seen is a significant rise in the number of vacancies posted by some of the smaller, boutique firms – these now account for over 20% of all vacancies.  These companies who have previously held back on recruitment are far more bullish about prospects for 2011, and there are more of them too.  When we include the Mid Sized research companies, these now make up the highest share of all vacancies at around 60%.  The vacancies in MNCs firms are falling back and client-side positions dropping off to almost none at the end of the year.  With the exception of the more senior appointments, many clients and MNC firms are relying more on direct recruitment through their website advertising, networking, or direct poaching of candidates.  Networking, e.g. ‘recruit a friend’ is now quite common and some are even remunerated for this making staff ‘mini recruitment consultants’. The fact that such an approach is often far from successful for either employer or employee is an interesting consideration.

One of the more consistent measures throughout the year has been the share of candidates across management levels.  ‘Junior’ candidates, i.e. those with less than 5 years experience form less than 15% of our database.  We tend to ‘regulate this’ in as much that we might encourage candidates to stay put if their move is motivated to relocate to another country.  The core supply is the middle level candidates, often those in greatest demand.

By Andrew Wood, Senior Consultant, Asia Talent