What’s Roaring in the Lion City? - Singapore Swings!

By Luke Partridge, Managing Director (Southeast Asia) of Xpand Group

Lion City

Having moved to the tropical city-state 2 years ago to experience living and working in a new continent the last 24 months have passed by in a blur. An exuberant, fact-paced, sultry, food/career-enriching and busy blur!

With the global economy on a perceived slide as countries do everything they can to balance their nation’s ledger with various austerity policies and belt tightening measures let’s just say I’d prefer my current local dish to be Chilli Crab rather than Spaghetti Bolognese, Souvlaki or even Fish and Chips (and as a Brit that is hard for me to say!) right now.

Singapore is booming and certainly has a recent energy that is dispelling the antiquated stereotype of “you can not chew gum” to “It’s really a huge shopping mall with an airport attached” or my personal favourite..”Marmiteland (a brown savoury spread to those that are unaware of this delicacy)..you’ll either love it or hate it!”

For those with a geographical or athletic bias, let me give you some dimensions of this thriving island. Singapore is approximately a Marathon (42km) east to west and Half-marathon (21km) north to south. With the annual Singapore Grand Prix (the only night GP in the calendar),The World Gourmet Summit when Michelin-starred chefs come to town for a gastronomic two week festival, new casino and entertainment complexes, Singapore has reinvented itself as a standalone destination rather than simply a stopover to break a long journey.

Commercially, Singapore continues to build his global reputation as a key business hub with an increased flow of both large multinationals and exciting new start-ups deciding to based their regional or global HQ here. As such, business remains robust and whilst conscious and inextricably linked to global financial markets Singapore has a very well managed economy that bounced back strongly from the Global Financial Crisis and continues to provide challenging and exciting career opportunities….which is good for us!

Given Xpand’s focus in Technology, Media & Communications and Digital markets, and Singapore’s attractiveness for a range of these types of business, there is a good synergy here. We are seeing a consistent level of work across both our practices not just in Singapore, but across South East Asia and other parts of Asia-Pacific. As businesses look to grow their reach into previously untapped ‘emerging markets’ with huge potential, such as the Philippines, Vietnam and Indonesia, recruitment businesses like ours must build networks and a strategy that continues to broaden our reach.

So the Singapore Lion continues to roar. As a recruiter and workplace destination, we remain optimistic about the outlook. Certainly there is more to this small island than shopping and chewing gum…much more! Come and see for yourself…

What’s Happening Down Under? - Xpand Adopts a Candidate-First Model

By Allen Russell, Managing Director of Xpand Group

Xpand has always been first to market with many ideas throughout our eleven year history, but changing our business model to be candidate first means we continue to innovate in the way only Xpand knows how.

Throughout the last few months there have been a couple of agencies and one man bands trying to adopt a candidate first approach to market. Interestingly one of the agencies is charging candidates up to $15,000 for a range of introductions to companies and boards (which just doesn’t quite seem candidate first to me,) while others are trying to pitch the approach in a way that they don’t work roles but only do contingent search based recruitment (which again, is not really a candidate first approach.) The problem with this model is that it’s driven by client demand rather than service to the candidate market.

From our Xpand point of view, candidate first means something completely different. For us, it means that we work proactively on behalf of our candidates to secure them the best opportunity. We make sure and we do this by providing a range of career opportunities and not just a “live role” that is being recruited by many other agencies.

I’ve been doing my research lately and have spoken with a whole bunch of people about the model to find out whether or not it would be seen as valuable in our market at the moment, especially when you bring into play the prominence of tools like Linkedin, large internal recruitment teams and recruitment process outsourcing.

The feedback on our model from all different kinds of people in the market has been really positive, but I had my very own “Ah-HA!” moment the other day while I listened to Alec Bashinsky and James Elliott from Deloitte talk about how they recruit and what they need from their recruitment partners. Suddenly, it really hit home for me that Xpand is running on the right track.

  Their recruitment team acts as an agency internally and if I may paraphrase his words, he said: ‘We have 6,000 recruiters in our company who are constantly on the lookout for good talent (With a $5000 referral fee too!) They provide as much brand experience as possible to prospective employees through facebook, LinkedIn and youtube and also contact passive candidates the same way recruitment agencies do.’

  As I was listening I thought to myself… If every corporate had such a mature talent acquisition strategy then there would definitely be a lot less recruitment businesses out there but would we have a place in this market? The answer is yes. Why, you ask? Well… Deloitte need recruitment providers who:

·         Can access talent they can’t (having a deeper level of relationship than they currently have within a specific niche candidate market)

·         Have ‘job ready’ talent communities

·         Can provide market insight and knowledge within specialist candidate markets

·         Can validate insights into the candidate (they usually know the names of people but aren’t too sure on the details)

·         Can provide lateral thinking & advice to broaden the talent pool as well as influencing their business leaders as a part of their partnership

This just proved to me that Xpand is in a great position right now with a business model that is current, relevant and appropriate for today’s climate. We’re really moving in the right direction and by continuing to add great people to our business, our success comes down to one thing only, and that’s the execution of the plan!