South China Morning Post – Article 2 – The Interview Day

Our second career advice article was published in last Saturday’s South China Morning Post – this article looks at the Interview Day itself and some tips on how to make things go smoothly.

Please click the following link to see the PDF of the article:

The Interview Day

Opinion Poll: May 2013

*Thanks for all your votes! This poll is now closed! Results below.*

This month is a quick and easy poll asking how many of our followers/readers are happy in their current job. Don’t worry, all votes are totally anonymous and we will be interested to see the results at the end of the month!

Ellicott Long – South China Morning Post

We are pleased to announce that we have been approached by Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post to write a regular column providing career advice. Starting from last Saturday, 18th May, we will be writing a series over the coming weeks aimed to help readers who are going through the process of changing position.

Please see the link to our first article below in this post and remember to pick up your copies of SCMP over the coming weeks to read our continuing advice series.

Link to article PDF:

Career Advice – 18/5/13

Stats Series 1: Avoiding the Counter Offer Trap

We are starting a series of blog posts entitled the “Stats Series” (“Stats” standing for “Statistics”). As a recruitment business we have access to a lot of recruitment data which gives us the ability to see trends and predict the outcomes in certain scenarios. As part of this series we will be sharing some of these stats with our readers to highlight how they affect certain situations.

Disclaimer: Please note that these stats are very basic level stats which include things such as interview numbers, how many offers we get and the number of starters etc. No personal info is used or shared in these stats.

This week we will look at Counter Offers and the stats surrounding these.

What is a counter offer?

A counter offer is when an employee resigns from their existing company to take up a new offer of employment elsewhere and their existing employer offers them better contractual terms to stay.

We have taken a look back over the last couple of years of counter offer data and were surprised by what the data revealed.

  • In the last 2 years we have had 21 instances of candidates receiving counter offers either for offers we have had for them or offers they have received elsewhere.
  • Of those 21 candidates, 10 candidates rejected the counter offers and moved positions successfully.
  • That leaves 11 candidates who decided to take a counter offer.

Now this is where things get interesting…

  • Of those 11 candidates, 9 came back to us within 3-6 months to express their regret at taking a counter offer.
  • Of these 9 we were able to only reintroduce 4 candidates successfully to the companies that they were originally offered with.
  • The reasons stated by these 9 candidates for why they regretted their decisions included:
    • The company made it very difficult for them once they knew they had intended to leave.
    • The company hired new staff in a clear attempt to replace them.
    • The reasons they had originally wanted to leave did not change with an uplift in salary/title – the problems were still there.
    • Two of the candidates found themselves being relocated to undesirable locations.
  • The 5 other candidate reintroductions were not accepted by the companies that offered them originally for the following two main reasons:
    • The company had subsequently refilled the positions.
    • The company now felt the candidate was unreliable and they were therefore no longer interested.
  • All 5 of those candidates found it incredibly difficult to find a new opportunity following their decision to actually leave their current employer. This was simply because they had already explored most of the job opportunities during their original search and not enough time had passed to allow for them to be reconsidered by companies.

These stats highlight something that we, as recruiters, all know – counter offers do not work for the overwhelming majority of candidates. In a competitive candidate market place it is so much easier for a company to counter offer a member of staff than for them to try and find someone new. But ultimately the relationship between employer and employee is usually irreparably damaged by this point.

We wrote a detailed article on Counter Offers in 2 parts (Part 1 here and Part 2 here) previously.

We will be continuing this stat series in the coming months to highlight other situations faced by clients and candidates and what we can learn from these numbers.

Monthly Update: March and April 2013

What a busy 2 months since our last update! This update combines news from March and April.

Poll Results

March Poll: In March we asked you what sort of bonus you have received or are expecting to receive during the traditional bonus season around Chinese New Year. The results are below:

Nearly two-thirds of you said you were expecting or had received 1 month’s bonus. This is generally the most typical level of bonus that we are told candidates do receive so didn’t come as too much of a surprise. 23% of you voted to say you received 2 month’s bonus – typically we find that bonuses of more than 1 month tend to come from client side roles within the developers. 7% received a 3 month bonus – this is a rare level to hit. No one claimed to have received more than this. Bonuses in most firms are entirely discretionary and usually based on personal and company performance. Those who really excel are generally rewarded well in Asia.

April Poll: In April we wanted to know which industry sectors you felt represented the best opportunities for growth within the Property and Construction in China. The results are below:

With nearly a quarter of votes was the retail sector with 24% of you feeling that this represented the best opportunities for growth in China. Close behind with 20% was infrastructure and transportation followed by hotels and hospitality with 16%. These top 3 results reflect what we are generally finding when clients are requesting we find certain candidates for them – people with retail, transportation and hotel experience are certainly in high demand and a lot of clients are definitely focusing their efforts on developing retail projects across China. We were quite interested to see that healthcare and education made up 20% of the total votes – this is certainly a developing market in China and one that clients are still very cautious about tapping into. There is no doubt though that a huge amount of growth potential is on offer in these sectors as more and more cities are developed. It will be interesting to see how this trend changes in the coming years. Commercial sectors make up the majority though for now perhaps unsurprisingly.

What’s Hot

All our sectors were incredibly busy throughout March and April.

Our leasing, sales and marketing business goes from strength to strength with mandates coming in thick and fast for candidates at all levels. We have been successful in placing a large number of candidates into leasing roles, particularly within the retail sector. We have also had more requests coming through for more experienced candidates to manage large projects in China or even multiple projects. Strong leasing and negotiating skills are required and candidates with a solid background in a developer environment are almost guaranteed to find companies interested in their profiles.

With architecture and design we have continued to find high demand exists for experienced architects with strong experience in China and the language skills. Clients are continuing to hire these candidates and more projects seem to be being given the green light in China. We are also in need of strong interior designers, ideally with a retail background across all regions in Asia. In addition we have some specific and exciting needs for candidates with Project Management and BIM backgrounds as well as candidates with Occupancy Planning experience.

Within the Project Management space we have been inundated with client requests for Project Managers at all levels to be based in China. Our strong relationships with the top tier developers is really allowing us to provide candidates with tangible and meaningful introductions to opportunities on some truly outstanding projects. Candidates with architecture or engineering backgrounds remain in demand and as always, the need for candidates to be based in China remains a priority. Occasional needs for Hong Kong based candidates do come through but competition for these positions is very high. We are also finding that there is high demand for maintenance candidates within our developer clients – these roles are for candidates who can manage an existing portfolio and the upkeep of these properties.

Most Urgent Requirements

We have outlined below the urgent vacancies we have had through from clients over the last couple of months.

  • Project Managers – China and Hong Kong requirements for candidates with architecture and engineering backgrounds and strong project management skills
  • Architects – Hong Kong – up to Senior Associate level with an international award winning firm
  • Senior Leasing Manager – Hong Kong – key position in a top tier developer
  • Leasing Officers – Hong Kong – ongoing need within one of the top retail developers in the region
  • Project Director – China – a super high rise tower needs someone to lead the project for the developer
  • Project Manager BIM – Shanghai – acclaimed design firm and signature project
  • Occupancy Planner – Hong Kong – work within a key blue chip company to manage all their occupancy needs
  • Interior Designers – Hong Kong, China and Singapore – retail experience required on some exciting schemes – mall and luxury store work available
  • Hotel Interior Designers – Hong Kong – hospitality designers needed for a number of high profile schemes
  • Maintenance Officers – Hong Kong – top retail developer with an ongoing need
  • E&M Project Manager – China – a listed developer in Hong Kong looking for someone to be stationed on a project in China
  • Quantity Surveyor – China – top tier developer needs an experienced QS for a high quality project
  • Project Manager Interiors – China – a requirement within one of Hong Kong’s leading developers. High end hotel/office project.

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:

http://www.ellicottlong.com/current-jobs.

If you wish to inquire about a position please send an email and your CV to apply@ellicottlong.com.

Follow us on Twitter here: www.twitter.com/ellicottlong. 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.

Opinion Poll: April 2013

This month we are keen to see which sectors you feel offer the greatest potential growth opportunities for the Construction and Property industries in China in the coming few months/years. Please tell us what you think below by selecting up to 3 options. Do you think the retail sector will continue to boom? Will companies start to focus on healthcare projects more? We want to know. As always, we will discuss the results in our monthly update. Thank you for voting!

A Guide To Salary – Part 2

This is the second part of our Salary Guide – Part 1 can be found here.

  • What should I expect? A fair and valid question to ask and one that requires a different answer for every candidate. The salary you can expect to receive in a new company is dependent on many factors. The main ones are your current salary level, your performance at the interview (how much you impress the client) and the nature of the job you are being offered. Typically, providing you really perform at interview, you can expect a firm to put together an offer based on your current level plus a certain percentage uplift. You may get other financial incentives depending on location or hardships as part of the position but that will be unique to each company and position.
  • What percentage increase can I expect then?There is no one correct answer and the below numbers are a very rough outline of what we experience in our industry in Asia in the current market conditions (March 2013). Typically we find that if a candidate is moving to a similar type of company for a slightly better position then the average increase is around 7-12%, sometimes up to 15%. If the role is for example a change from consultancy side to the client side (e.g. moving from a design company to a developer) then the uplift can sometimes be 20%. The average candidate comes to us with initial expectations of 25% and above. We have spoken to candidates who have convinced themselves they can achieve 40%, 50% and sometimes even 60+% increases. Unless you are seriously underpaid (determined by the potential new employer not you) then these sorts of numbers will never happen. See our recent poll here for some interesting results, as voted for by candidates, which relate to salary uplifts in 2013.
  • Salary and recruiters – the best way to get advice on your current salary and what you can expect is to speak to an experienced recruiter (please see our guide to recruiters article here). A professional and honest recruiter will give you feedback on your current salary level in relation to other candidates with similar experiences and should be able to tell you whether you current level is too low, about right or too high. Based on this, and providing they understand your background and experience fully, they should be able to advise you on an expected salary level. The key here is that the information you get is tailored to your individual experience combined with the recruiter’s market knowledge. A recruiter will also know what their clients are likely to be able to offer someone and feed this back to you. Providing you find the right recruiter it is essential you take their advice on board. Most candidates forget that it is in our interests to get someone the best possible salary. This is because we are paid based on the salary we get someone. However, we have to finely balance actually getting someone the best possible salary with not getting an offer at all if the expectations are too high. Therefore, what we are generally suggesting to you as an expected salary is a very honest guide to what you can expect. If we could get a candidate a 50% increase we would of course do so! Allow a recruiter to guide and manage your expectations.
  • Be realistic. When deciding on what salary you are looking for take a moment to sit back and think about whether the figure you have come up with is realistic and fair. If you have taken on board the advice above you can probably have a pretty good idea of what to expect. Seek the advice of professionals who can give you real feedback and remember that ultimately though a firm will offer you a position and salary based on your performance at an interview.

A quick note on discretionary bonus. People sometimes include discretionary bonuses when stating their current salary package. Avoid this in general. If you insist on including it then break it down into what you received as a bonus in the last year and also the previous year. Generally speaking most firms only offer discretionary bonuses and never state what these will be. They are performance related and should be recognised as such and shouldn’t be used as part of negotiations.

If you follow these guidelines then you should be in a much better position to handle the salary part of the application process. Once at an interview things must also be handled very carefully. We cover this in our “How to Interview Successfully” articles part 1 and part 2.