Links Recruitment gives employment outlook

Forget the sign-on bonus, but there is still a demand in banking for candidates with Asian language skills.
So 2009 is here, but has it brought fresh hope and expectations of a better year?

Hong Kong-based recruitment specialists Links Recruitment, which at the very end of December released its salary survey for 2008, concludes that despite the economic slowdown, employment opportunities still remain in certain sectors for candidates seeking work.

Links Recruitment reviews and forecasts the job market across banking, finance and accounting. But it also looks into other areas such as human resources and administration, as well as temporary and contract hires û positions that matter to CEOs of corporations and top executives at banks who want to ensure their businesses keep ticking along.

ôCompetition for high quality candidates will remain strong in 2009," says Swapna Reddy, manager of Links RecruitmentÆs banking, finance and accounting division. "Although bonuses are expected to halve in 2009 and sign-on bonuses will become uncommon within financial institutions; there is still a consistent demand for candidates with Asian language skills, including Mandarin, Korean and Japanese.ö

Ivy Lam, manager for the human resources and administration division at Links Recruitment, also sees changes in Hong Kong.

Lam says: ôCompanies are now being more selective in their recruitment process which is causing the hiring process to take longer. Battles for salary increments are now stronger than ever. Following two years of 20% salary growth we see the possibility of reduction in salary levels across organisations in the HR and admin sector for 2009.ö

During the past three years, the number of temporary and contract workers have increased, according to the recruitment agency. Ingrid Wong, manager of Links RecruitmentÆs temporary and contract division, says: ôFor 2009 we forecast more needs for contract staffing. Vacancies are not only in support functions anymore but also those on a level with a variety of professional skills. We have recently seen an increase in available senior level candidates who have unfortunately been affected by the recent economic uncertainty.ö

Debbie Matson, managing director of Links Recruitment, concludes: ôAlthough the world has been shaken by the credit crunch it is not all negative. There are still opportunities available for high-quality candidates. We have seen that people are more hesitant in changing jobs. The first six months of 2009 will be challenging as organisations continue to realign.ö
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