HRO Today Global Winter 2016 - 12

RPO Asia 2016
also disappeared from global markets during the ÿ rst
week of trading.
A burgeoning interest rate hike cycle in the US,
plummeting demand for commodities, and slowdowns in
several of the world's largest emerging economies have
also led economists to cut their 2016 predictions. The
World Bank recently shaved 0.4 percentage points from
the previous 2016 forecast it made last June, leaving it at
just 2.9 percent.
What's missing from some of the headlines, though, is
that the World Bank still expects the global economy to
grow more this year than it did in 2015. Plus the world's
fastest growing economies are in Asia.
For the second year running, India is expected to be
the world's best performing economy. In 2015, India's
economy is estimated to have grown 7.3 percent; the
World Bank forecasts 7.8 percent growth for the country
this year. Despite all indications that China is struggling-
many businesses will conÿ rm that consumer demand is
sluggish-the Chinese economy is still expected to be the
second fastest growing this year with 6.7 percent growth
(down from 6.9 percent in 2015). Other top performers
include Bangladesh, Iran, Pakistan, and Indonesia, all
of which are expected to enjoy growth of more than 5
percent.
But are companies hiring?
Before we get carried away with growth euphoria, it is
important to note that Asia is not immune to the rest of
the world. Corporate hiring in many sectors has slowed
down or come to a standstill. Barclays, Deutsche Bank,
and Standard Chartered are all cutting jobs globally,
including in many Asian ofÿ ces. Reports of factory
closures are becoming more frequent in China's Pearl
River Delta. With the price of crude oil at its lowest level
in more than a decade, it's no surprise that oil and gas
companies are shedding workers; at least 10 Malaysian
oil sector companies, including Shell Malaysia and
ExxonMobile Malaysia, are reducing headcount.
" Companies are more cautious across most of the
region, " says Randstad Sourceright Managing Director
Doug Edmonds, who moved to Singapore ÿ ve years ago
[12]
HRO TODAY GLOBAL
| WINTER 2016
to set up his company's Asia Paciÿ c headquarters. " It's
going to be a challenging year because of the relative
uncertainty. The ÿ rst things that people are going to
watch out for are their hiring patterns. They're going
to be a little more careful about when they go out and
hire. "
" Hiring volumes might come down, " agrees Futurestep's
Managing Director for Asia, Sue Campbell, " but RPO can
be counter-cyclical because companies want to reduce
their ÿ xed costs. Outsourcing is compelling to a company
under ÿn ancial margin pressure. "
Edmonds sees another silver lining as well. While
requisitions may go down, particularly during the ÿ rst
quarter, he expects there will be more clients 'kicking the
tires' to ÿnd out how RPO can make hiring more efÿ cient
and less expensive.
" When we went through a similar period of uncertainty
in 2009, people were looking for alternatives to having
in-house teams. Full-time recruitment staff were sitting
there basically doing nothing, because there were no job
vacancies. So awareness grew, and after we came out
of the period of uncertainty, we saw immense growth
almost immediately. "
Salary Trends
While the job market might appear tight across most
of the region, companies should not confuse economic
uncertainty with a green light to offer lower salaries.
Real wages are expected to rise 4.2 percent in Asia-
faster than in any other region according to Korn Ferry's
Hay Group.
" It's still a candidate's market in Asia Paciÿ c for skilled
workers, " notes Edmonds.
" Despite economic conditions being tougher, good
candidates in Asia, particularly those with niche skills,
will still be in high demand, " adds Campbell. " They'll
still be able to name their price and will have multiple
opportunities. Companies shouldn't think that the
balance of power has changed. When things are tough,
you need better people anyway. "

HRO Today Global Winter 2016

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