How is the economy in Singapore affecting the recruitment industry? Jaya Dass, Country Director at Randstad Singapore, talks to us about key issues influencing this unique and exciting market, including nationalisation, sector growth and graduate recruitment.
When we last spoke in August 2016, you felt the labour market in Singapore may be softening, and you pointed out that redundancies were at the highest level since 2009. Five months on, what do you think has changed?
The global economic environment and growth continues to remain flat and, as such, the outlook for jobs mirrors this. While the main chunk of retrenchment looks to be finished, we still expect to see some small pockets of retrenchment in certain areas of Oil & Gas and Banking. The economy goes through cyclical changes, and it’s not entirely clear yet whether we have hit the bottom of the curve. Organisations generally continue to hold a ‘wait-and-see’ approach. Despite this, businesses adapt to new realities and transform the way they operate; demand for talent to drive these initiatives has kept hiring momentum up.
Which market sectors do you think are going to offer Randstad Singapore the greatest opportunity for growth in 2017? How do you approach and exploit market sector opportunities?
Areas experiencing growth are generally areas which see the highest hiring demand. Life sciences, supply chain, information technology and professional services are all sectors we are focusing on this year.
With a competitive recruitment landscape, it’s important to ensure that we are a differentiator in the market. Being true industry specialists and understanding the real nature of client growth and business life-cycles, we are able to pre-empt the needs of clients and support them in a business partnering function, rather than having a simple vendor-client relationship.
You oversee a recruiting team of over 120 consultants. Given that some sectors may experience rapid growth at the same time that other sectors may be slowing down, how do you balance this impact? Would you transfer a consultant from one sector that is suffering, to one that is not?
No matter how skilled a recruitment consultant is, if their market is not hiring, they simply won’t be able to make enough placements to justify their hard work. If a particular consultant is facing a situation like this, and we do not envision the market improving in the short to mid term, we will look to move this consultant to a new desk. When moved, the consultant will be provided with the proper support, mentoring and time to succeed.
Can you tell us a bit about your graduate program, and what a successful applicant can expect from the process?
Graduates coming into the Randstad family can expect a fast-paced, hands-on environment during their first months with us. The Associate Consultant programme involves an in-depth onboarding experience where the essential elements of sales and recruitment are taught, trialled and tested. Associate Consultants are also paired up with an experienced recruiter through a buddy mentoring system, which gives them a grasp on the industry and specialism they are recruiting for. Training does not stop at the end of the Associate Consultant programme – our Learning & Development programmes continue throughout a Randstad employee’s career – graduates coming into our family should be prepared to never stop learning!
When talking to a potential graduate employee, what skills are you looking out for mostly?
First and foremost – it’s attitude. Having a good attitude is crucial to fit in with the Randstad culture where we work hard and play hard. We believe our positive culture focusing on teamwork and our people has been the key to our success in Singapore.
All potential employees are also put through several psychometric tests which allows us to truly gauge their potential and capability to be in a recruitment environment. Not only do we utilise these tests to check for potential fit, but it also allows us to focus on their strengths and weaknesses. We can then place them in optimal roles and provide targeted training to support their personal and professional growth.