Managing Your Expectations – Relocating to Asia – Part 1

To say the property and construction markets globally have been turbulent since 2008 is somewhat of an understatement. In Asia, as with almost everywhere, there have been periods of inactivity alongside very busy periods. This article is designed to give an overview of the current market conditions and some helpful insight in to what you can expect when looking at the possibility of relocating to Asia.

This is titled “Managing Your Expectations” as I feel there are a lot of people who either:

a) simply don’t know what to expect from a position in Asia or

b) people who are convinced they know but then find the reality very different.

They are opinions having worked here for a number of years and having worked with many job seekers and companies. Part 1 this week focuses on the markets in general and what companies are looking for. Part 2 will be published in a couple of weeks focusing on what you may be able to expect in terms of salary and benefits. **Part 2 can now be found by clicking here**

Tianjin Construction Site.photo © 2008 Jakob Montrasio | more info (via: Wylio)

A lot of people around the world hear that Asia is the place to be at the moment, with unprecedented economic growth still continuing as most Western countries continue to try to pull themselves out of their respective woes. This is the case in some respect but it doesn’t automatically mean that relocation will result in candidates finding it easy to secure a position. The harsh reality is that a lot of the companies in Asia have suffered at some point in the last few years and there still remains an underlying level of caution to bringing people on board. Yes there are skills shortages but companies are prepared to wait for the perfect person to come through their door.

At the moment, in Asia, that perfect person is someone with prior experience in (and therefore an understanding of) the Asia markets. Ideally this person will speak the relevant local language and it’s therefore no surprise that most companies are targeting locally based talent to fill their requirements. On the occasions companies are prepared to look into relocating someone, they will focus initially on returning Asian candidates before widening their search. This makes sense when you think about it. Asian candidates will generally speak the right language, most will know what it’s like to work in the region and how to behave culturally. They will perhaps have the added benefit of a Western education or professional experience. They are also sometimes perceived to be “better value” than their Western counterparts, not wanting as big remuneration packages. It’s easy to see why companies could be reluctant to look further afield.

It may sound bleak for candidates looking to relocate but there are occasions where candidates can have great success in moving to the region.

Firstly it’s about having a particular skill set that’s in high demand but in low supply in Asia. A great example at the moment is that of tunnel engineers. It seems most engineering consultancies, contractors and construction firms are crying out for good tunnel design staff to work on any number of the large infrastructure projects currently being undertaken in Asia.

Secondly it’s about companies feeling candidates are serious about moving to Asia. A company is going to need to feel very sure that someone has really thought about their relocation strategy before investing the time and money to move them over. There are a lot of people who think it is simply a matter of applying for a job and then maybe flying themselves over if they can get some interest from companies. At the other extreme some think it’s just a matter of having a few telephone chats and securing an offer that way. I would say that both these scenarios are highly unrealistic. Companies right now need reassurance and an approach as described above is seen as someone hedging their bets and not really committing to anything.

Landing at sunsetphoto © 2010 Colin Huang | more info (via: Wylio)

People who have the most success will convince a company that they have done their research and will take the plunge to get themselves to Asia to meet prospective employers face-to-face. Now I’m not saying this is a suitable course of action for all candidates but you can see that companies cannot fail to be impressed by someone taking a risk and making that effort. It’s something to seriously think about and in a lot of ways makes good practical sense as it allows people to visit their prospective new homes at the same time.

Part 2 will follow on the 8th April. Next week we’ll be posting our March update so remember to check back then to see what’s been happening over the last few weeks.

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3 Responses to Managing Your Expectations – Relocating to Asia – Part 1

  1. Pingback: Managing Your Expectations – Relocating to Asia – Part 2 « Ellicott Long's Blog

  2. Pingback: Normal posts will resume next week… « Ellicott Long's Blog

  3. Pingback: A Summary of Our Posts « Ellicott Long's Blog

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