East meets west

Brian Hardiman, newly appointed Associate Director for Frazer Jones recently located from Hong Kong to Melbourne to focus on working with mid-senior level HR professionals in Victoria, South & Western Australia. He shares his initial insights on the trends in the HR market in Asia and Australia.

One of the most notable differences between the Asia & Australia markets is the maturity and scale of the Talent Acquisition function within the majority of medium-to large companies in Australia. This is particularly surprising considering the significant recruitment challenges faced in Asia where there is an ongoing war for talent with active candidate pools and unemployment rates low. As a result of these conditions you might expect to see a greater investment in the Talent Acquisition function in Asia particularly with the local market companies who are generally still reliant upon HR generalists to manage the recruitment process in partnership with the line managers.

Here in Australia we have seen a number of our clients undertake HR transformation projects in recent times. There have been large scale restructures of Talent Acquisition teams and we have started to see a trend of companies exploring the options of bringing the talent function back in-house, in particular those who have had an RPO model. This represents a key shift in some businesses approach to recruitment and is consistent with the finding of our Asia-Pacific HR Market Report & Salary Guide 2016-17 which found that only 2% of respondents identified an RPO model as the most successful recruitment method.

I also observed the impact of China’s slowing growth and economic prospects on talent strategy in Asia; in some countries companies were slow to replace leavers and recruitment processes could take months as clients would wait for the ‘perfect’ candidate rather than invest in an ‘up and comer’. Closer to home, economic and political uncertainty has meant hiring activity of senior level HR professionals has been variable. However, I believe confidence is now returning to the market and the second half of the year will see more activity.

On a more personal note, I’m pleased to say Melbourne’s famous coffee culture has really lived up to its billing. I seem to have spent the majority of my time frequenting the countless coffee houses around the city meeting people in the HR community. It seems everyone has their favourite venue and I’m looking forward to filling my diary with more meetings so I can continue to experience more of what this city can offer.


Brian Hardiman, Associate Director

Frazer Jones