Monthly Update: April 2012

Market News

A survey this month found that more than 86% of luxury brands have an outlet in Hong Kong topping the charts for the third year running. The demand for luxury retail space has driven up rents by more than 14% from the same time last year. Most analysts feel that we’re reaching a peak here in Hong Kong as retailers start to baulk at paying such high rental fees – although the demand for luxury goods from mainland China visitors is expected to remain strong.

Also in Hong Kong this month there was a word of caution for buyers of new luxury flats and properties. The lure of grand clubhouses and appliances means that many flats are becoming overpriced and are starting to make a loss on the secondary markets. If the selling price of a new building is 20% more than those of similar 2-3 year old properties in the same location then there is a good chance that the price will depreciate according to market experts.

Sands Macau opened the next phase of their Cotai project in April with the US$4.4 billion Sands Cotai – phase 1 opened in April with 2 further phases expected to be open by early 2013. In addition they announced plans to spend some US$35 billion building casino projects in Spain, a mini Las Vegas. Further integrated projects are also planned in Asia with Sands planning to grab significant market share over the next decade.

In China, home sales rose sharply as more developers offered discounts to attract buyers. However, all signs still point to an uncertain future with the latest “official” response from the Chinese government which says that developers are “dreaming” if they think that restrictions on property will be lifted any time soon – the suggestion had been that they could ease restrictions designed to cool the housing market allowing developers to borrow and build more.

Poll Result

We asked you this month to tell us about your company’s plans for hiring over the next 6 months. The response was great, as always, and thank you to all who voted:

Most respondents, 95% either live or do work in Asia so we can assume the response is a good indication of the market conditions here. 70% of respondents said they would be hiring but one or two key people. That said, 20% of respondents said they had big plans for growth. This leaves us with 90% of respondent’s companies planning to expand in the region, perhaps somewhat surprising given the recent greater caution from companies to employ staff. Speaking to people this month, the focus for new hires still seems to be to hire those difficult to find, critical people – if people do not fit exact requirements then company’s are still prepared to wait. All were positive about the remainder of 2012 and felt that much of the proposed work they have on their books would be given the green light in the near future enabling them to take on more people. Interestingly only a small number of voters said their companies would be downsizing this year. A positive sign for industry we hope!

What’s Hot

April has been one of our busiest months with many new active requirements coming in from existing and new clients. We are receiving a lot of new client referrals from existing clients and building exclusive relationships with many companies (developers and consultancies) in the region on the back of some strong work in the preceding months. It seems that the desire for a consultancy led recruitment approach to their needs is working well and our clients are now starting to be very selective about which recruitment partners they work with – good news for us! We were delighted to hear this month that in 2011, our first year, we had become the biggest supplier of design staff to one of the world’s biggest design firms in China (name to remain confidential!) placing more staff than our nearest competitors combined. A great achievement and one we hope to build on in 2012!

Demand for interior designers with hospitality and retail experience remains high – if we had 10 strong candidates (with language skills and China experience) we would be able to find them all work! It really is that busy. Landscape design continues to be a busy area for us – again, we have needs for people with good language ability for some great firms in China. We do also need strong architects at all levels but really the priority here is for those with excellent language skills. When we do get roles for expats we can fill them within a week as the candidate pool is still quite large in this area.

We STILL have an urgent need in Hong Kong for a Chinese speaking Project Director who can help develop business for a new team. In fact if we could find 2 or 3, we would have options available.

We have new mandates from some of our large developer clients ranging from AGM level through to Assistant PM level – these are top tier developers including 2 with whom we have exclusive relationships – these are truly firms that people come to us and request we make contact with so we know these positions won’t be open for long! Good PM’s with architecture experience who can deliver projects in China – those with engineering backgrounds will be considered too. We again could fill 20+ positions here if we had the candidates – so get in touch if you think you could be interested!

Our new business area in the Sales and Marketing and Leasing sectors has boomed in the last month. Our clients are responding really well to this specialist focus and we have mandates with many new and existing developer and consultancy clients. Demand for strong leasing staff with retail experience in addition to market/sales candidates with property qualifications is very high. We expect this market to grow for us in the coming months and we will be posting many new roles onto our website!

Most Urgent Requirements

We have outlined below the urgent vacancies we have had through from clients over the last month.

  • Assistant Sales and Marketing Manager – Top Tier Developer, luxury Resi projects
  • Project Manager – Interior Design – Another Top Tier Developer for a position in Shanghai
  • Senior Sales and Marketing Manager for luxury resi projects – a bespoke, high end developer
  • Project Director – for one of China’s best known developers on a landmark scheme
  • Architecture Project Director – an international design practice looking for someone with strong PM and Mandarin language skills
  • Assistant Project Manager for a luxury developer to be stationed in Hong Kong (currently at final stage interview)
  • E&M Project Manager – China – Another top tier developer in Hong Kong looking for a key person on a key project
  • Leasing Manager – Hong Kong – Listed Property Developer looking for Retail Experienced people
  • Interior Design Director – Shanghai – great opportunity with a new practice in China
  • Senior Interior Designers – Retail and Hotels – Hong Kong and China – we need people here! China experience and language will be important

We also have many, many more roles posted on our website and these are only an overview of our top positions at this time. Please check back regularly. The easiest way to stay up to date with our latest positions is to follow us on Twitter.

Please visit our website for more information on the above roles and our other vacancies:

If you wish to inquire about a position please send an email and your CV to

Follow us on Twitter here: Please also subscribe to our blog by filling in the email subscription form on the right to stay up to date with our latest posts, updates and information.


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