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Are firms finally getting more flexible about who they hire?

In the second part of our report from the recent eFinancialCareers roundtable in Singapore, we look at how recruitment policies are changing to cope with a more vibrant employment market.

The roundtable was attended by 15 senior HR professionals, all of whom asked not to be named in this article. If you haven't read part I, click here.

Movement in the market

Roundtable delegates agreed that there is a lot of movement in the current quarter because of pent-up frustration. In the words of one: "There are plenty of people who wanted to move during the last two years, but couldn't afford to because of the awful job market."

Attendees played down the impact of recent bonus/compensation reform on candidate decision-making. "As always, people want to move for the new opportunity, or they are sick of their job."

The need for speed

With more professionals jumping ship in Singapore compared with last year, line managers are getting much faster at approving new recruits. They realise that if they don't act quickly to snap up talent, they risk losing out to other firms in a competitive employment market.

"The hiring process has definitely got looser - it's not as long and as painful as it was during the GFC. We're seeing a lot more regional, rather than global, approvals," said one panelist.

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Let's get (a little bit) flexible

As the speed of recruitment picks up, we are also seeing tentative signs that, in certain functions, firms are becoming more flexible in their recruitment requirements and are dropping their GFC-induced obession with perfection.

One delegate mentioned that her firm has (shock!) now started considering audit candidates for risk roles. Moreover, when banks poach people from the Big Four consultancy firms these days, general-audit experience is increasingly acceptable. Last year a financial-institutions background was a must.

Another attendee commented: "There's still not much flexibility in the front office - we have tough requirements there - but in shared services a 60/70 per cent match to the job is now ok. This is a change which has just happened over the last three months."

Banks are naturally more open to taking risks with tried-and-tested internal candidates, so if you're moving functions within the same firm, a skill set match of about 70 per cent can be good enough.

But what about unemployed candidates? Does all this talk of flexibility apply to them?

"You don't rule them out from the start, but you do ask, 'why is nobody else picking them up?', especially if they were let go at the start of the crisis."

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AUTHORSimon Mortlock Content Manager
  • Pe
    Pearl
    19 May 2010

    I lost my job at the beginning of the GFC, but I had not been actively searching until about a month ago, because I knew there was no point in doing that. But when I started searching, I don't go through the head hunters. They are no use in this market and I don't believe the market is so good any way. Call your personal contacts and ask them for a job, especially if you know someone in high places.

  • ni
    nidhipunn
    6 May 2010

    jobs are only available for people who have jobs.Its like money gets money, but those who do not have jobs do not get calls even when the profiles match 101%.The consultancy firms do not wish to check out such applications and they keep chasing their existing database

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