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The recruitment war

Ross O. Storey | Feb. 23, 2009
James Mendes, Managing Director of Asia Pacific, Alexander Mann Solutions (AMS) shares his thoughts about the current IT recruitment environment

Forward-thinking companies will be looking at ways of enhancing their existing workforce by investing in training and development. The effects of this approach are far-reaching investment in employees increases engagement and staff retention, reduces attrition, and provides capacity for competitive advantage when the economy begins to gain momentum once again. 

In recent times, many companies have moved their IT functions to Singapore, resulting in increased local demand for IT staff. 2009 will see a reduction in IT recruitment volumes as companies reduce their non essential IT investment resulting in lower volumes of IT projects and higher employee retention. 

In both Singapore and Hong Kong the telecommunications industry has seen continued advancement, as telecommunications companies move into the ICT space, they will see a need for new IT skills and will look locally to recruit top candidates.  A challenge facing the Singapore and Hong Kong IT sector will be the movement of many of these functions to lower cost locations.

Organisations will look to reduce the costs of administrative and back-office functions.  One method of doing this is to relocate non-essential administrative services to a lower cost centre, which could entail moving services to another country.

How would you describe the current IT industry employment environment for senior execs in comparison to last year? When was this environment similar in recent times?

The IT industry continues to expand throughout the globe, and the war for talented CEOs and CIOs continues unabated. With local organisations reducing headcount and streamlining to better weather the storm and be fit for the future, there will be continued demand for experienced senior executives capable of efficiently and effectively managing limited resources.

Asia is viewed as an incubator for some of the worlds leading executive IT talent, and is a happy hunting ground for many global organisations. These factors drove demand for senior executive talent steadily through 2008, and whilst the levels of demand seen in 2008 are unlikely to continue into 2009, 2009 will continue to provide good opportunities for leading executive talent. 

What 2009 strategies does your enterprise plan to adopt relating to IT employment to cope with the current downturn?

Perhaps the most important thing is to realise that this isnt the time for rash action; its time for measured and considered responses to the economic environment. Its a time to think clearly about the talent requirements of the organisation, and to plan accordingly. Companies who trim down too far can run the risk of not being able to respond quickly when the upturn in the economy comes whereas companies who have made the effort to retain talent and to invest in the future could gain a distinct advantage.


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