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APAC Recruitment Leaders Gather in Singapore at the Offices of Mastercard

Hosted by: Mastercard

The Chapman Consulting Group held its final APAC Talent Acquisition Leaders gathering for 2012 on Friday 14th December at the offices of Mastercard, who kindly co-hosted the group. It was an excellent mix of industries and discussion. We hold these gatherings every quarter and attendees are all regional recruitment leaders.

Matthew Chapman, CEO of The Chapman Consulting Group, gave a brief overview of his observations on the market as we close out the year. Over the last three months, he felt that the HR market has remained as active as ever, particularly within functions such as Talent Management and Reward. China remained the hottest country for senior level searches as the demand to upgrade and improve HR continues. He also looked ahead to 2013 and felt that the recruitment function may have had a quieter 2012 than usual, but the next year seems to be gearing up to be very active. The group discussion was driven by three case study presentations from TA Leaders from Microsoft, Mastercard and LinkedIn. 

The first topic for the group was Innovation in employee referral schemes and some shared successes, with one company now attributing 40% of hiring to internal referrals. The group agreed that personalising programmes as well as balancing the date of payment (start date, 1 month or 3 months after the referred individual joins) can be key considerations. When building the scheme, it is important to understand the starting point for each country plus the global policy and what you want to achieve. Do you want a referral culture? Which roles to pay out on and when? Some suggested this should apply to ‘hard to fill’ or open vacancies only and agreed that some need to be exempt, especially in high volume markets. 

The best successes had been those who started small first and then went bigger and it’s important to recognise some countries are always going to prove quicker adopters than others, so it is critical to adapt and test. The only risk to consider is how hiring ‘friends of friends’ can affect the culture you have, referral schemes need to be one of a balanced range of sourcing channels.

The second topic discussed were the current and future trends for regional staffing team structures in Asia. It was highlighted that one of the main challenges for leaders in the room is that APAC is the only geography that combines emerging and mature markets together under one recruitment platform. This makes it one of the more demanding landscapes for recruitment. The group agreed that the shape of the function has to be driven by what you need. Are you looking for efficiency, value add or cost savings? Subsequent decisions over centralised or decentralised models then become clearer. Many agreed that having experts/specialists in the team was the future for the function and examples included the emergence of sourcers/researchers and executive recruiters to provide a ‘bespoke’ solution covering volume as well as senior recruitment. 

Outsourcing parts of the recruitment process was discussed with many providing examples of recent moves to outsource the admin/transactional aspect of the process over the last 12 months. The group felt this only worked when it was right for the business and the challenge. Around the room, there was a general feeling that RPO is less understood and implemented in Asia compared to Europe, the US or Australia and some wondered if the risk aversion was due to the lack of success stories? Europe and US models have worked so why not here? Proximity to HQ locations may play a factor, so perhaps with more decision makers moving to Asia, the number will increase. Although there has been a slow take up, everyone acknowledged that 2013 and beyond was only going to see more outsourcing within APAC recruitment functions.The key take away centred on the flexibility recruitment functions need today to flex up and down plus demonstrate relevance even in a down market. It is critical when building a team and model to be sustainable.

The final topic was an insightful presentation on LinkedIn and employer brand. This covered the need to personalise, have clarity in your message/outcome and innovate when thinking about social media. It proved to be a lively discussion and the group shared some great ideas to help one another think about their social media strategy. The next Asia Talent Acquisition leaders gathering in Singapore will be in March 2013.


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Key Contributors:

Matthew Chapman
Matthew Chapman


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Matthew Chapman
Global Management

Matthew Chapman


Matthew (Matt) Chapman is the Founder of ChapmanCG.

He has also created the Thrive HR Exchange, a global community platform for people leaders and HR professionals to find and exchange inspiration, ideas and insights. Discover some of his interviews with HR leaders here.

Matt has a Bachelor of Commerce in Accounting and Business Law from the University of New South Wales, Australia. He is a Singapore Citizen and divides his time between Asia Pacific, the Americas and EMEA.

Matt is a wellness, self-improvement and fitness addict. He has completed six desert, 250km ultra-marathons in Chile, China, Egypt, Antarctica, Namibia and Madagascar.

EA Registration Number: R1111550 Licence Number: 08S3543