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Staffing Leaders Gather in Singapore

Hosted by: Symantec

A group of 20 Regional Staffing Leaders gathered on Tuesday, 1st May at the offices of Symantec to discuss the latest market trends and what’s on their agenda for the next quarter. These are regular sessions aimed at combining networking with the chance to share ideas and innovation in the staffing function. A mirror group of Talent Acquisition Leaders will be meeting in HK on the 11th May for a session co-hosted by JP Morgan.

After Matt Chapman set the scene from a market perspective the group discussed a variety of topics. The group discussed the use of contractors in their teams to cope with the unpredictable nature of expansion of their respective Asian businesses. Some felt hiring contractors was not always a cost saving and meant continuity was harder to manage. The overall feeling was that the staffing functions had to be better prepared to deal with the unpredictable nature of expansion and to look at their structures to enable quality service and some flexibility to adapt as hiring fluctuates.

Finding talent for staffing teams was a debated subject. In-house talent vs. agency talent was discussed and it seemed most leaders preferred a mix of agency and corporate experience. In certain industries agency was favored for the hunger and transactional capability (technology) and in other firms for the recognition that market understanding was vital (banking). The market knowledge, hunger and ability to ‘deliver’ potential talent were the top traits the group looked for in new team members.

The talent pool available for staffing roles in China was mentioned and general consensus pointed towards a good pipeline of recruiters. However a challenge at the Greater China level is that recruiters were more interested in a regional position. Recruiters in the China market were considered good value for money yet recruiters with experience and capability to fulfill Greater China regional roles were expensive particularly when compared to recruiters with similar levels of capability and experience in Singapore and Hong Kong.

Changing geographic regions was a topic the group discussed at length. Many were finding their region expanding beyond Asia into Africa, the Middle East and International or ROTW (rest of the world excluding North America). Being able to identify and attract talent in such dispersed regions from one regional HQ was not always working and a decentralized team was being championed. Vietnam was highlighted as a low cost talent hub for SEA recruiters to be based.

Social media was the final topic for discussion with some great innovation and best practices shared. The emergence of specialist roles at a regional and global level for social media was a new trend. Some leaders had combined this role with their campus recruitment lead. All agreed it was critical to track the ROI of social media and link referral schemes to employee networks such as LinkedIn and face book. The results of which can be tracked and quantified. Balancing the pressure to use social media for job postings vs. using it as a medium to explain more about the business was tough to decide upon. Each business had a different strategy on what they felt was most valuable. The group did agree that a major change for global and regional social media (Facebook pages/LinkedIn pages) was needed to focus more on localization by country (India, China and Japan were mentioned). This is driven by language and cultural differences and the appreciation that ‘one size does not fit all’ to get the best return.

The next Regional Staffing Leaders update will be in Q3 and dates will be confirmed soon.


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Key Contributors:

Matthew Chapman
Matthew Chapman


Global Management
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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