South China Morning Post – Article 3 – Interview Follow Up

Our third South China Morning Post career article looks at how best to follow up following an interview. Article 4 will be published tomorrow (Saturday) so remember to grab your copy!

Please click the link to see the PDF:

SCMP Article 3 – Interview Follow Up


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:

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.

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 1

Salary is a critical factor in someone’s decision when they move position. It is usually the main component, alongside job title, that makes up a job offer.

In Asia in particular, salary is a major deciding factor for many clients when determining whether they will even interview someone. We are asked by most companies to provide a current and expected salary at the very first stage of an introduction.

Therefore handling the salary part of a job application is probably the main thing a candidate needs real guidance on. We have seen many instances where a candidate has not known the correct approach to take and in essence ruled themselves out of a job or even an interview. Often it won’t be until they have spoken to us that we can advise them that this is the reason company “X” didn’t come back to them. By then it is often too late.

This guide aims to give you some pointers to help you determine the best approach to take.

  • Be honest! The first and most critical thing to do is to be honest about your current salary level when asked. This may sound obvious but there are candidates who try to inflate their current level in order to achieve a higher potential offer. Many companies now ask for salary proof before they offer a candidate a position and we have seen instances where people have been tripped up at this stage in the process and not received an offer because they have not been totally open. If you feel undervalued in your current position that is fine – it is probably one of the reasons you are looking to move and hopefully get an uplift in doing so. But please do not attempt to hide the reality as it does come back to bite people in end!
  • Break things down – give detail. This is as important as being honest. You MUST break down your income into it’s different components. These are usually made up of a basic salary (before or after tax – you must state how you are paid currently), any guaranteed bonuses, any discretionary bonuses (see below), any housing or other allowances and any other monetary items that you receive as part of your contract. All of these things must be provable and do be prepared to provide companies with proof of these figures. We have lost count of the amount of times someone has said to us something like “I earn around “X” per year”. This amount needs to be exact and broken down as described above.
  • Don’t base your expectations on the wrong advice. Candidates will often come to us having benchmarked their current and therefore expected salary having come to a conclusion usually based on two sources:
    • What friends are getting elsewhere. Whilst it is tempting to compare yourself to your friends we find that people who base their expectations on this advice alone are usually those who have the most unrealistic expectations. Why? Most of the advice people get comes from friends who are in totally different roles making direct comparisons impossible. But because they are friends, their advice is often taken as reliable. Ultimately what a friend is earning, in a totally different situation, is irrelevant to what you can expect. Friends will also try to help you by suggesting you get as much as possible saying you should ask for “X” or “Y” – whilst they mean well, this advice is not the professional advice most people should be getting and in general should be avoided.
    • Online salary guides. It is perfectly natural to not know what you should be asking for as a salary. The first thing many people do is to search online to get an idea. This invariably leads people to salary guides – the vast majority of these are put together by recruiters. I will let you into a secret here. Most of these guides (not all) are put together by a junior consultant in the office who is asked to throw some rough numbers together for a print deadline. How do I know? I was once that junior consultant…the figures therefore are rough estimates and in the real world don’t actually mean anything. They don’t take into account many factors such as location or market conditions. All we have seen them do is add to the confusion surrounding expected salary.

We will finish this article in our post next Friday with Part 2 and our final bits of advice. 


Opinion Poll: March 2013

Tied in with last month’s poll, this time of year is the time most people have just received or are expecting to receive their bonuses. What did you get? What are you expecting to get? Tell us by voting (anonymously of course!) below. We will discuss the results at the end of this month.

Monthly Update: February 2013

This month’s update is a bit later and a bit briefer than usual – we are totally inundated with work at the moment which is great and means we will have lots more to report in March’s update! For now though:

Poll Result

At Chinese New Year a lot of firms pay their annual bonuses and conduct appraisals for their staff. We wanted to find out what people were expecting to get this year in terms of a percentage increase in their salary, either from their current employer or by moving to a new employer. Here are the results:

The results are actually in line with what the market has been offering in terms of pay increases in the last year or so. More than half of you are expecting a 6-10% pay increase this year. We have found the average actually pay increase is around 7-10% so this tallies with expectations generally. Quite a lot of people were not expecting more than 1-5% increase, 30% of you. Most interestingly we found that only 3% of all respondents expected a 15% or above pay increase. No one expected to receive more than 20% – this is quite telling as from a recruitment perspective as we often meet candidates who’s expectations are extremely high. Sometimes these expectations can go up towards 40% or even 50%! Part of our role is to manage these expectations to ensure they are in line with what the market is offering. The responses this month seem to indicate that people really expect much more realistic increases – there’s nothing wrong with trying to get more though!

Look out for our next poll coming right up after this post.

What’s Hot

The Chinese New Year rush of jobs is upon us! We will update more at the end of March once things have calmed down a little but if you take a look at February’s needs and multiply them then you have a good idea of what we are after.

Most Urgent Requirements

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

  • Project Managers – Hong Kong based on Hong Kong luxury residential projects – more roles have come through
  • Senior Interior Designers – hotel, retail and commercial experience needed for a global design studio
  • Architects – Singapore, Beijing and Shanghai – firms expanding due to new project wins – some roles filled, more people needed
  • Interior Project and Design Managers – China and Hong Kong options within top tier developers. We have filled a number of these but still need more
  • Leasing Officers and Assistant Leasing Managers – one of Hong Kong’s most desirable developers is now hiring – multiple roles
  • Urban Design Director – Shanghai – an international award winning architecture practice
  • Leasing Officers and Senior Leasing Officers – Retail experience candidates for a developer in Hong Kong – ongoing need for us. We are placing a lot of candidates here
  • Senior Project Managers – China – delivery experts needed for a number of projects in China
  • Architectural Assistants – Singapore – a leading architecture practice in the region looking for the future stars
  • Interior Designers and Senior Interior Designers – Hong Kong based positions with a hospitality design specialist
  • Project Manager Landscape Architecture – work with a Hong Kong top tier developer
  • Occupancy Planner – International design firm in Hong Kong
  • Retail Project Architect and Architectural Assistants – Hong Kong boutique retail design firm
  • Project Director – Hong Kong – innovative design firm looking for delivery experts with China language skills

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.

Opinion Poll: February 2013

*Poll now closed – thank you for voting and the results can be seen below*

It is that time of year again in Asia where companies conduct their annual salary and staffing reviews and give out the New Year bonuses. We would be interested to find out if you are expecting to receive a pay increase from your current company this year and if so how much. Please tell us in this month’s poll by voting below: