Jobs April 2011

The Good News Salary Guide

The dark days of late 2008 and 2009 have been well and truly left behind for the specialist recruitment industry, with the 2011 Hays Salary Guide underlining the strength of the rebound in Japan and across the key markets of Asia.

The contents of the annual study by Hays were unveiled by Nigel Heap, managing director for the Asia-Pacific region, and Christine Wright, the company’s managing director for Japan, at a seminar at the Roppongi Hills Club in early March.

The figures made encouraging reading for employers and employees.

“The mobility of people across the region for the right career is definitely on the increase”, Heap said. “A critical success factor for any organisation in the coming year will be how effective they are at driving organisational performance through people, and that success factor is the same for all our clients across the Asia-Pacific region”.

Christine Wright

Heap described Asia’s job market as “very active” and with healthy levels of movement, but warned that a shallow pool of talent in many specialist areas is the more serious threat to growth.

“Japan’s employment landscape is on a much firmer footing than at this time 12 months ago”, he pointed out. “There are the first signs of skill shortages which will put pressure on salaries.

“In the IT industry, for example, employers have found it difficult to recruit skilled talent for specialist roles”, he said. “Sales professionals are also a hot commodity, particularly those with a strong network of contacts within their industry. There is also greater demand for bilingual candidates within finance technology, human resources, sales and marketing, and pharmaceuticals.

“As a result, candidates do expect an increase in salary and are aware that, if their skills are those in demand, they are in a strong position to achieve their goals this year”, Heap said. “Employers will, therefore, need to be well informed in order to get the right outcome from their hiring strategies”.

The Hays report suggests that employers will need to reconsider salaries as professionals consider a move if they do not receive a healthy salary increase in the year ahead, while it also predicts the return of the counter-offer as employers try to hang on to their best and brightest talent.

However, more money will not cure the problem entirely, as employers will need to identify the reasons for which an employee decided to look for a new position, and solve that problem.

Nigel Heap

The Hays report shows that no fewer than 79% of employers across the key Asian markets of Japan, China, Hong Kong and Singapore would consider employing or sponsoring a qualified overseas or expatriate candidate in areas in which they lack specific skills, although the figure is lower—a mere 57%—in Japan. To attract and retain the best performers, there has also been a discernible increase in the use of bonus schemes: health and life insurance, gym membership, stock options and education benefits.

Examining the key sectors individually, Wright was upbeat across the recruitment board on the prospects for the year ahead, suggesting that 2011 will be “a year of recovery” in the finance and accounting sectors, and that a general trend for bilingual and experienced candidates is already emerging. In the banking sector, reports that a number of hedge funds are likely to be set up in Tokyo in the near future suggests that demand is likely to rise again, while the broader economic recovery is having a particularly positive impact on the IT sector, where skilled employees are in demand for projects that can last a decade or more.

The sales and marketing sectors have shown modest growth that should stabilise in 2011, she predicted, although the supply-chain business is going “from strength to strength” and the hiring freeze imposed on the pharmaceuticals sector has thawed, meaning that firms are in the market for quality candidates to launch their upcoming products.

Hays is opening a new office in Shinjuku later this month, to add to its branches in Akasaka and Osaka.

2011 Hays Salary Guide: