Interview with John McCrohon
Having majored in Business and Japan Studies at Griffith University, Australia, John McCrohon started his recruiting career with Robert Walters in Tokyo. He relocated to Osaka in October 2007, to oversee the launch of our Osaka office.
In early 2010, he returned to Tokyo, and took up his current responsibilities, which include leading the Financial Services Division, in addition to supervising human resources and legal, compliance and risk functions within the company.
What are the trends in hiring for the Financial Services market?
Positive market sentiment fuelled by Abenomics, currency deflation and structural reforms have contributed to an increase in hiring across all aspects of financial services.
While the majority of new staff recruited in 2013 were replacement hires, we have seen employers looking to take advantage of rising profits to add new headcount to their teams, a trend largely unseen since the Lehman Shock in 2008.
Clients are more willing to hire, and improved confidence has been shown among candidates, as demonstrated by job seekers’ willingness to consider changing companies. This has resulted in an increasingly competitive hiring environment across all financial institutions.
Hiring strategies remain focused on securing bilingual specialists with three or more years of experience in their field of expertise.
Can you explain the main areas of your recruitment coverage?
Our division covers all roles across the entire Financial Services market, including front, middle and back office functions. We specialise in placing bilingual professionals in positions of all levels of seniority, from junior analyst to managing director positions.
What skill shortages exist for Financial Services positions? Which skills are most in demand?
While we have seen a steady rise in the demand for bilingual specialists across front, middle and back office functions, demand has not been consistent across all functional areas.
A continuing emphasis on regulatory reforms within Japan has driven hiring demand for bilingual internal audit and compliance specialists, particularly in the surveillance and trading advisory functions. HR in-house recruiting specialists, HR business partners, and in-house payroll specialists are also highly sought after.
In addition, we have seen a rise in demand for credit risk specialists and junior bilingual candidates across middle-office positions, especially for professionals skilled in derivatives operations.
How is this demand specific to Japan?
While many other recruiting markets outside Japan are predominantly client-focused, the market in Japan is very much candidate-driven.
With a limited supply of bilingual specialised staff and an increase in the number of open roles, as the market becomes more buoyant, we are seeing increased competition between financial institutions vying for the same skilled candidates.
The most coveted candidates are often receiving multiple job offers. Companies are focusing on streamlining their recruitment processes in order to secure the top talent for their firms.
What makes Robert Walters unique in recruitment for Financial Services positions?
Robert Walters has been a key player in the recruitment market for Financial Services for over 14 years. We have an intimate understanding of our clients’ needs, derived from our long-term client relationships established throughout our history in Japan.
We also have a comprehensive and well-maintained database of bilingual candidates. These assets, combined with our up-to-date market knowledge, allow us to provide a timely, specialised and professional service to both candidates and clients.
Our proactive approach to headhunting combined with our global presence provide us with access to a large and diverse pool of bilingual candidates. In addition, our team-based approach and specialised consultants allow us to provide an unparalleled quality of service to both our clients and candidates.
Like a lot of our clients, we focus on diversity in the workplace. Currently there are over 25 nationalities working at our Japan office. We have established a unique working environment of professional, motivated consultants committed to continuing to build upon the Robert Walters brand of excellence.