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Navigating recruitment challenges in Asia-Pacific

Even amidst all of the recent global disruptions, life went on. The world still turns, and we all know what makes it go around. Asia-Pacific has seen the sharpest increase in business activities in recent memory, and companies are eager to make up for lost time. Talent acquisition and retention in the post-pandemic era are the immediate challenge that they face, as I wrote last week.


Companies not only need people back in jobs, but want them better skilled and prepared to take on a more volatile business environment. The pandemic proved that the unexpected does happen – and the companies that came out on top were the ones that were better prepared.


Apart from the requisite skills required for the job, additional skills and professional knowledge that is adaptable to market developments and economic changes are important.


So how might businesses get ahead of the competition in the race to secure this kind of talent? Well, before we get into the details of that, for many companies, a bit of damage control is of equal priority. 

Rebuilding the employer brand

A company’s brand value is one of the best indicators for job seekers of its workplace culture. Today, a strong and socially conscious employer brand will help a company stand out in the job market and ultimately help attract and retain the better-quality talent. 


It was not too long ago, , that companies had to lay off staff just to stay afloat. Businesses that we trusted, and that we sometimes dedicated our best years to, were not there for us when times got tough. Owners, boards of directors, and top-level management did not hesitate to react swiftly when COVID-19 struck and hurt the bottom line.


Now is the time to reset and rebrand. To focus on building strong teams and restoring vital bonds of trust. A great company culture is an indispensable asset for any company. It creates a positive workplace environment, improves workers’ cultural exposure and ethics, and allows employees to form cohesive and tightly knit teams almost spontaneously. It contributes quite powerfully to the development of enterprises in this way, as well as by assisting the rational allocation of enterprise resources to improve competitiveness.

Retaining talent

Employers understand that retaining talent, especially excellent talent, is crucial for the company.  Keeping employees loyal, productive, and employable is an important skill for every leader and HR department to have today. 


Asian companies have in the past year invested more resources into their talent retention initiatives and policies, and this is certainly an area where closer attention pays dividends further down the road. It’s always better to invest in current staff and ensure the company becomes widely known as an employer of choice than to respond to recruitment challenges as they come, without a long-term plan or strategy.

Money is one thing… 

Paying people right (or more than right) is one strategy. Let’s face it, there’s a reason why the big corporations always get the first cut of top talent today: they have the resources to hire them at very attractive salaries, offer them company shares, and pamper them with envy-inducing perks. 


Money isn’t everything, though, and, in any case, not every company has the resources to pay the highest salary in the market. So you get creative. Employers are increasingly offering non-monetary incentives to attract talent to their organisations – particularly in the areas of work–life balance and diversity, equity, and inclusion.


Flexibility – Younger workers prefer to be measured by their overall performance rather than the time that they put in. The option to work from home, flexible start and finish times, sabbaticals and paid vacations, choice of location, and shorter weekly working hours are all highly attractive perks that companies can offer to seek and retain top talent.

Engagement – Whether workers are at the office or at home, leaders can have a big impact on their experience of their work and the wider company. Respect and regular feedback, praise when it is due: all go a long way to make people happy at work. And happy people stay longer.

Social responsibility – Studies have confirmed that corporate social responsibility can influence employees’ attachment to and pride in their employer, thus having a beneficial effect on their work-related attitudes and behaviour.

Career development 

Another winner in improving talent retention and building a positive employer brand is investment in staff development. Employees who pick up additional skills and training understand that their skills are important to the businesses and feel that their value within the company is growing.


Are you looking for the right talent or enhancing your potential within your company in Asia and beyond? Contact your nearest AIMS International partnership for a quick call or presentation. 


About the Author:

Jonathan Khoo

Managing Partner
Practice Member – ConsumerIndustrialMedia & Technology
AIMS International Singapore

Prior to joining the executive search industry, Jonathan held several senior management roles at international conglomerates, including one of the largest semiconductor providers in the world, a global passenger transport company, and a major Fortune 500 technology company. 

Jonathan first started his executive search career as the Managing Director with one of Asia’s oldest executive search firms, in charge of Life Sciences, Industrial Engineering and Technology practice groups. Since then, he has built a solid track record of successfully filling leadership and professional positions across Asia.