Natellie Sun, Managing Director at Randstad Hong Kong, addresses the issues surrounding contract workers, challenges and opportunities facing the East Asia market and a multigenerational workforce.
Hi, Natellie. You recently posted about the rising trend of contract workers in Hong Kong. Has this factored into your growth strategy for the office this year?
Contracting is certainly a key area of focus for the Hong Kong business this year, with investments being made in various aspects. Headcount has been increased to grow the number of consultants with specialised contracting experience. Training has also been set in place to help current consultants within the business understand the complexity of contracting and expand their current scope to include it.
Our back office is also taking steps to support the growth in our contracting focus. The marketing team have been looking at initiatives to promote awareness about our contracting specialism, and support staff have been brought in to streamline the administrative aspects of contract hiring. We recently launched our entirely digital online platform, allowing our clients and candidates to quickly manage timesheets in a simple and centralised manner.
What would you say are the greatest challenges that Randstad Hong Kong faces this year? Do you think the challenges are similar to those facing the China market?
The recruitment industry is still facing disruption. Technology is making a big play and new recruitment strategies are being adopted by organisations as a response. This includes growing internal talent acquisition teams and leveraging off outsourcing for high volume recruitment.
In terms of challenges faced by the Hong Kong and China markets, we still see differences between the two. The China market is still challenged by a skill shortage, increasing salary expectations and a shift towards local clients. In previous years, recruitment was focused primarily towards MNCs, whereas now we’re seeing a more even split between local organisations and MNCs.
Hong Kong is still heavily reliant on the global banking industry, and with the uncertainty caused from the political climates in the US and Europe, the industry as a whole is taking on a more conservative approach. This ultimately impacts recruitment in Hong Kong. The economic outlook still remains fairly flat at the moment, but expectations are generally positive as organisations in Hong Kong gear up for a stronger year than 2016.
Would you say that Randstad Hong Kong is a multigenerational office? If so, how do you deal with this as a manager?
Our business is younger, and while we do have different generations in the office, the majority are of a younger age group. Our consultants are young and energetic, which is a key component influencing how our organisational culture has formed. Dealing with this as a manager is no different from dealing with any generational group – I strive to connect more with our people on the floor, listen to what drives them and try to understand what they want from their career.
Which of the sectors that you cover in the Hong Kong office has the biggest team? Do you see this changing over the next year or so?
If we take a look back a few years, the banking team was certainly the dominant team within the Randstad business. Within the span of these few years, the Technology team has grown to be the largest. Demand for tech talent has surged, not only in the banking sector, but across all industries as organisations look at automation and consumer behaviour changes. Our sales team has also dramatically grown over the last 12 months, with clients focusing on top line revenue growth requiring strong sales people to support their strategies.
You’ll be wrapping up your first year at Randstad Hong Kong in May. What have you enjoyed the most about working here so far?
The people and the culture. When you come in as a Managing Director, it can be difficult to predict what to expect from the staff, but the Randstad team were incredibly welcoming. In addition, the team are incredibly driven to achieve the vision and goals of the company.
Innovation is also at the forefront for Randstad on a local and global scope with our Tech and Touch initiative – we have a dedicated team of people involved in regional projects looking to improve how we work through the implementation of tech innovations. It has been really exciting to see how we’re transforming the way we recruit moving forward.