The first half of 2017 was relatively slow for the Real Estate sector as most companies were still in the process of restructuring their business to drive down costs in an increasingly competitive Asian market. Real Estate remained a candidate driven market, where individuals were open to making a move, though only for very attractive opportunities. Candidates with Architecture or Interior Design degrees were highly sought after by companies who were looking to stay ahead of the competition within the design space.
While most companies delayed their hiring plans in tier 1 cities, they set their sights on expanding their business into other emerging markets across Asia. As a result, candidates became more open to relocating to tier 2 or tier 3 cities in China or elsewhere in Southeast Asia to further strengthen their own portfolios.
As hiring managers faced budget and headcount constraints, they had to rely on hiring talent on a contract basis to assist with ongoing projects. While candidates traditionally preferred a permanent job that offers security, the current market conditions saw a surprising shift in attitude towards contract positions as candidates were open to taking on shorter term assignments to gain exposure in their field of interest.
On the retail side, Project Managers and Visual Merchandising specialists across the region were highly active in job searching, though there were a lack of openings to facilitate such moves as retailers held back on expanding their portfolios, and further downsized their teams and number of store openings.
The luxury retail sector saw employers look towards candidates from a fast fashion background in an effort to think outside the box when driving business growth and being competitive. Similarly, many service providers were open to seeing candidates from different backgrounds and industries, hoping these candidates would bring in new ideas and business practices to differentiate their brands against their competitors.
Attracting the right talent has been difficult for most companies, especially those operating in niche industries where candidates are limited. Therefore, roles that have either been open in the market for a long time, or reappeared after some time have become increasingly difficult to fill as the candidate pools are exhausted. Candidates within these niche sectors are also being cautious when moving, as they are acutely aware of the reputation of the companies and how well they are performing.
While we expect the market to remain relatively slow for the remainder of 2017, companies will begin their budgeting process in Q3 and this in turn will lead to a surge of urgent positions that need to be filled by the end of the year.
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