A great asset for any HR professional is to be multilingual and have international HR experience; these capabilities are in demand. But when it comes to recruitment, hiring trends can differ greatly by region. We explore the current global recruitment marketplace and discuss what HR skills are needed in each area.
There is fast-paced growth in the Middle East because of the investment in infrastructure from the government and multinational organisations taking advantage of growth opportunities in the developing market.
When it comes to human resources, there is a strange combination of admin-focused HR departments and modern HR teams who are much more strategic. While commercial focus is an increasing priority for many companies, resulting in a growing need for HR business partner expatriates, the biggest challenge for the Middle East is to educate developing businesses about the importance of a commercial and business focus for HR.
In Hong Kong, strategic-level HR is in demand, as are talent and employee development professionals because employee retention is a key focus for many companies. China is expected to have an onslaught of new HR roles since functions are being centralised in head offices. There is also an emphasis on hiring and retaining talent as a means to grow business. New roles in Japan will be to fulfil immediate business needs.
Singapore’s HR revolution is being led by the healthcare, telecommunication, and pharmaceutical industries. There is a focused effort to move functions in-house in the name of cost efficiency, and staff retention is becoming a significant issue; because of this, sectors are seeing an insurgence of HR expats.
Having just reached a seven-year peak in the industrial sector, there’s a market shortage in industrial relations and retention. Companies have been forced into competition because the pool of professionals is limited.
With the overshadowing Euro problems, it’s no surprise that the European recruitment market is mixed. France is currently avoiding risk since it is expecting taxation changes later on this year, while Germany is investing in upgrading the skills of HR departments (mostly business partners) and recruiting new employees. Netherlands and Belgium are developing their business in the Far East and Middle East. Spain, Greece, Italy, and Portugal have been inactive in the recruitment market and are expected to stay this way for the moment.
Replacement roles make up the most permanent hires, and there’s been a lot of recruitment for mid-level positions on the interim market for fixed-term contracts in human resources.
The industry is shifting attention to e-commerce due to increased consumer use of online services. As a result of the commerce sector’s actions to minimise operations costs, IT services and outsourcing continue to grow.
A period of 6-month unemployment in HR is rare since the market is mature and experienced practitioners are consistently sought-after. The focus on finding the ideal HR candidate has resulted in a longer recruitment process since some specific skills are hard to come by; in the financial sector, there’s an overall skills shortage for the available jobs in HR. Companies are holding out to find the perfect person and want candidates who can tick all of the boxes.
What HR skills are in demand?
Cost efficiency is the focus in this area. Each role has to be worth its weight, which has led to an increase of generalist business partners and in-house roles being created.
It’s likely that benefits specialists and business partners will be in demand for the rest of the year. Permanent positions may be hard to come by, which could be good news for HR contractors.
At the moment, companies in Hong Kong are looking to recruit at senior level for presidents and directors while keeping their eyes open for HR professionals with strategic business skills.
Remuneration packages and benefits policies are a big focus, so there’s a demand for compensation and benefits specialists. Those with global experience are sought-after too, since employers are creating restructuring packages to attract employees to Hong Kong, or for internal talent so they can explore different options abroad.
The Middle East HR market is thinking about business on a global scale, so many companies are looking for people who can create up-to-date HR departments that have commercial and strategic value.
While mid-level business partners are always sought-after, there’s also been a demand for local HR professionals due to nationalisation targets.
In the past 5 years, the focus has been on recruiting outside the area (bringing in expats) in order to raise the bar of HR, and make the function a driver of business. While there’s opportunity for those who don’t speak Arabic, those who want success should be specialists with expertise in their area.
The HR focus in Australia is in the public sector because Occupational Health & Safety (OHS) legislation is changing and standardising around the country. This requires HR consultants, advisors, managers and case managers. New financial budgets will create opportunities for change managers as well; projects that were once postponed are now back on.