South East Asia recruitment agency trends – a year in review


It’s fair to say that there was no let-up in demand for agency recruiters across South East Asia, with huge demand continuing over 2016-17.  Here’s our analysis of the top trends for agency hiring over the past year:

1. Rising expectations for recruiters

There has been a distinct shift and lift in expectations on what agencies will hire. In previous years, the “bums-on-seats approach” was the norm with agencies having too many roles to fill.  This has now been replaced with a need to have strong 360 Recruiters who can go out and win new business rather than just manage accounts.

2. Job hopping recruiters

This higher expectation has led to lower performing consultants being pushed out and a weaker “active” candidate pool. We have witnessed a larger than normal number of consultants leaving agency recruitment to go in-house or “job hopping” from agency to agency.

3. More market opportunities for recruitment superstars

For strong performers, it’s still a very strong market and consultants billing over the SGD300K mark will have multiple choices when it comes to opportunities.

4. Increasing demand for new sectors

Key areas in high demand are the Digital & Technology, Transformation & Change Management and Sales & Marketing sectors. Traditional sectors like HR and Accounting & Finance continue to have ongoing needs.

5. Smaller recruitment agencies facing tough competition

We have witnessed the demise of some smaller agencies who have not been able to scale and hire / maintain good people. Having been overly reliant on one or two key billers, the business folds if they decide to leave.

6. Finding innovative ways to retain top recruitment talent

Attracting good people is hard. Successful agencies have found a niche or unique way to run their businesses. Unique company policies, client relationships, culture management, strong PSL membership and branding make for attractive options to high performers.

Intuitive Recruitment is an expert Recruitment to Recruitment Specialist in Asia. For more detailed market intel, speak to us about our market mapping solutions at