Archive for August 2012
The hours can be long and it can sometimes be exhausting working more than 12 hours a day but I love representing people whom I know will make a positive impact in their next move.
On Tuesday morning, I had a coffee meeting with a gentleman called David*, who combines commercial vision, integrity and passion.
Having started his career as a chartered accountant, his vision and energy led him across the world and beyond finance. David exudes energy – this is a person who has run marathons alongside running a company – he sat at the board level of a US listed company where he transformed the business, re-organising the entire Asian operations, saving over a million US dollars in the process.
What struck me about David was that he does not just want to find a job – he wants to make a difference. He’s not just looking for an employer to pay his bills; he wants to be part of something he believes in. He won’t accept short cuts but will eliminate inefficiencies. It was refreshing to meet someone with a lifetime of tangible success combined with humility and humour.
At the end of my coffee I explained to David that I cannot make him any promises in terms of finding him a suitable role – but the time I spent with him gave me fresh insights into how a business should be run and what it means to be a leader.
Could your organisation benefit from you networking with someone of this calibre? Even if you are not hiring right now, contact me if you could benefit from having a coffee with someone with a vision beyond finance.
*Not his real name.
‘I started job hunting last week and I was introduced to a job opportunity through a recruiter. The whole process went very smoothly and I had breezed through the first and second round of interviews within a week. The following week, I was offered the job. I’m not sure if this is the best opportunity available in the jobs market and whether I will be able to ask for a higher salary in another company. Should I accept the offer or reject it and look around longer?’ he asked.
Some professionals may have experienced the same situation before, leaving them to feel that they may be missing out on other potential job opportunities in the market if they accept an offer at the early stages of job hunting. If you find yourself in a similar situation, ask yourself the following question before making the final decision:
“What are the top 3 most important criteria you need to consider before you accept an offer? Is it salary increment, company size, the location, the role itself, or even the chemistry with the boss?”
If the offer you have right now fulfills your top 3 criteria, than I believe this is a good opportunity and you should consider accepting it. You never know when the next one will come, and you may be losing out on a good opportunity which has appeared in front of you at the right time.
Job search is not measured by how long it takes or how many interviews you have gone through, but it is all about why you started the job search in the first place, and whether the offer in front of you can fulfill your expectations and requirements in order to lead you to your next career step.
The manner of the departure of striker, Robin Van Persie from Arsenal Football Club, did not endear him to every fan.
It was not so much his decision to leave but a public announcement in July and implied criticisms of the strategy of a team that was so supportive to him over many years. It is thought that he recently had a change of heart but his manager, Arsene Wenger informed him that he was no longer part of any plans for the club. Van Persie (who did have one good injury free season) might learn that he is not indispensable.
There are two things that Mr Van Persie should have avoided: Firstly, a public comment that suggested he disagreed with their strategy whilst he was still employed by them. Secondly, it appears that he made public his decision not to renew his contract before he was 100% sure about leaving. This is never a good idea. If you are looking for better pay or conditions, then have this discussion first.
Are you considering moving on from your current role? Be positive and proactive. Take time to discuss any concerns with your current employer and see if there could be a resolution. If, however, you have made your decision to leave, then do so with dignity. Take the time to resign, calmly, in person, show respect and have the courage to stick to your decision after having made it.
There is a lesson that Van Persie teaches us – how not to resign.
This past week witnessed a gathering of finely honed athletes and the best in the field from all around the globe. Media from all around the world were tuned in, the crowds watched and gawked in awe, and traffic literally stood still.
No, I’m not talking about the XXX Olympic games in London, but the opening of the newest Abercrombie & Fitch flagship store in Hong Kong. 110 of A & F’s best models from their global retail network came to support the opening of their new store by greeting guests and partying in local hot-spots. For the past week, my Facebook wall and Instagram account has been bombarded with images of models (My eyes!) who have been taking pictures with fans, greeting guests, and parading around Hong Kong on the A & F bus.
Hong Kong is still the destination of choice for international brands seeking to build their retail foot-print in North Asia, and in the past week A & F has done a pretty good job of creating strong media hype. To stand out in a hyper-competitive market, retail brands need to have a point of difference to differentiate themselves from competitors. A & F is a brand where image is central to their ethos, their retail staff and models form a key part of their brand strategy, as does their retail layout, merchandise, and digital marketing/social media presence.
It will be interesting to see in the coming months whether the media buzz translates into retail footfall and sales, given the brand is paying a record HKD$7 million in monthly rent. Their one-size fits all marketing strategy is very US centric, and does not seem to be localised to tailor specifically to the Hong Kong market at all. Their cheaper sister brand Hollister now has two retail stores in prominent locations in Hong Kong which could eat in to their revenues. Priced in the premium casual segment; A & F faces stiff competition against popular fast-fashion and high street brands from the Inditex and H & M groups, Uniqlo, and Forever 21.
So do you think A & F will be successful in Hong Kong? Have they opened at the right time?
According to a recent article, ‘Asia-Pacific Financial Job Market Remains Steady’ by CFO Innovations Asia, it is anticipated that there will be an increase in recruitment activity in asset management, global custody and compliance areas for the second half of 2012.
Being a specialist recruiter in the asset management industry in Hong Kong, I have to admit that buy-side hiring seemed to be the least affected by the global financial turmoil, compared to the investment banks.
In the past six months, turnover has remained relatively high in the front office; multiple distribution/wholesale sales managers have been moving to competitors. Additionally, I have witnessed an increasing number of marketing and client servicing opportunities in the market. Although there are hidden openings here and there, the majority are critical replacements hires due to headcount limitations. From the conversations I have had with HR and management in fund houses, they do not foresee any expansion in the remaining two quarters of this year.
Besides the long-only asset managers, alternative investments with a particular focus in private equity and exchange-traded fund (ETF) seem to have picked up quite a bit. A number of US and China based PE funds are recruiting heavily from the investment banks, trying to take advantage of the influx of IBD professionals who are passionate to make a move to the buy-side.
For those who are not familiar with ETF, it is a security that tracks an index, a commodity or a basket of assets like an index fund, but trades like a stock on an exchange. Given the volatility of the current market situation, investors have started to diversify their investments into ETF for their low costs, tax efficiency and stock-like features. In the past few months, a number of ETF providers have entered the market and there has been an increase in ETF sales, product development and portfolio management vacancies.
Hopefully the optimism in the asset management hiring market will be reflected across the rest of the financial services sector in the remainder of 2012.
I have elected to dedicate this blog to ignore the endless tide of negative press stories and to post some positive news to share with you.
On the recruitment front:
- In June we took on more new job mandates from employers that we work with across Asia than we have done for 18 months
- In June we also had more requests from employers to interview professionals than we have done for 12 months
- Last month, the US saw 163,000 new jobs created – far more than analysts were expecting.
On the business front:
- Mario Draghi pledges to do ‘whatever it takes’ to save Euro… At last, a positive statement of intent regarding a crisis/long series of lunches by European bureaucrats, which seems to have been going on for several eons
- China’s manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) hit a five-month high of 49.5 in July
- Investors are pouring into South-East Asian stock markets, with bourses in Manila, Ho Chi Minh, Bangkok and Singapore all seeing double-digit rises this year
- Malaysia! Last month state oil company Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) announced the country’s largest ever outbound takeover. Add two very large (successful IPO’s), it now boasts three of the largest capital markets deals in Asia this year
- The Hang Seng index has increased 22% in value since October last year.
The bizarre, ridiculous and inspiring:
- In the US, ‘Pooh’ the Poodle saved her blind owners life, by smelling a gas leak and leading her out of her home
- In London, Dana Vollmer, beat the woman’s world record for the 100 meter butterfly on her way to Olympic gold. The fact that she overcome a potentially life threatening heart condition she was diagnosed with at the age of 15 en route to doing so is exactly the sort of thing Winnie the old British bulldog was talking about.