Global Recruiting, Beijing, and the Asian Market

by Veronica Blatt

Today’s guest blogger is Geoff Crews with Forsythes Recruitment in Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia. Forsythes Recruitment specializes in engineering and technical recruitment; corporate recruitment, including executive, sales, HR, and finance; office support recruitment including admin, accounts, and clerical; trade and industrial recruitment; and organizational consulting including psychometric assessment, outplacement, and OD. Geoff serves on NPA’s Board of Directors where he is a member of the Tools, Knowledge, and Services Committee.

Skype, social media and news relayed via journalists are good mediums. But there’s nothing like being in a room with employers and global recruiting agency owners to share opinions and ask questions about employment outside Australia.

It’s now Sunday night in Beijing and most of the 46 attendees and speakers are on a plane heading home. I’m staying an extra day before heading to Shanghai tomorrow to visit some of our global recruiting partners there.

This was a successful NPA Global Owners Meeting: 15 attendees from China, 12 from Australia, 9 from the US & Canada, 3 from Singapore, 2 from Indonesia, 2 from the Philippines, and 1 each from Korea, Taiwan and Ireland. Everyone contributed and left richer for the experience together.

Asian members represent only 17% of the membership of NPA, The Worldwide Recruiting Network, but are responsible for 33% of successful cross-border recruitment projects. This outward perspective is important to China’s desired transition from an industrial economy to a knowledge economy. And it was highlighted in our meeting in a presentation by CAIEP – the China Association for the International Exchange of Personnel. This speech, via a translator, was a rare window into the strategic thinking on China’s labour costs, manufacturing efficiencies and balanced development across primary, secondary and tertiary industries. The need for high-level creative talent from foreigners was a point emphasized on more than one occasion.

A Q&A session with Chinese HR Managers – one from a marketing/event management agency and the other from a very large, complex manufacturing company – reiterated the need for global thinking in recruiting key staff. As in-house recruitment professionals, these representatives discussed the balance between competition and cooperation with agency recruiters on junior and middle level recruitment projects. But they emphasized the need to partner with global recruiting experts capable of accessing an international candidate pool for leadership and strategic staff requirements.

The time together included country presentations from ten of the attendees. These presentations included details from basic GDP, population and employment figures to the personal experiences of each in sourcing and screening candidates in a range of classifications, industries and cultures. Countries like China, Korea, Singapore, the US and Australia reported softer employment activity in some sectors and a cautious global recruiting outlook. Other regions like Indonesia and the Philippines outlined a national sentiment of confidence and growth.

I am an employer. My expertise includes thinking like a job seeker. Whichever way I look at it, I believe our exposure to these neighbouring Asian markets is important and I am grateful for this time I have spent with old friends and new this past few days.

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