Study: Recruitment and HR challenges in 2018

The latest RGF Market Outlook Study highlights the main talent management issues that each market in Asia-Pacific will be facing this year.

Across the region, the outlook and challenges for businesses this year are set to be many and varied. According to the RGF International Recruitment Market Outlook study, which sought the detailed opinions of more than 1,200 senior HR and business leaders in 10 of Asia’s biggest markets, businesses still have some work to do to get their HR policies to best-practice level.

Many of the difficulties that participants noted related to training and performance management. Across Asia, 30% of all respondents flagged the reinforcement of leadership skills for mid-level managers as an issue for their current organisation. This was slightly higher in Thailand (33%), and slightly lower in Hong Kong (26%). Across industries, the issue was most prevalent in the Electronics Manufacturing sector (37%).

Performance management was another oft-cited concern across the region. In total, 28% of the survey respondents indicated a need for improvements to their employee review strategies. This was particularly an issue within the Information Technology and Telecommunications sector.

Communication issues are also proving a challenge for many HR teams, particularly when it comes to articulating a positive value proposition for staff. In Vietnam, for example, 68% of survey respondents felt that misleading job descriptions led to high-value employees resigning in 2017.  A majority of Taiwanese respondents (68%) also blamed negative working relationships for a loss of key staff.

Communication between organisations and their regional and global headquarters also raised concerns, particularly in the finance industry across Asia. 29% of respondents from the banking sector said they were currently having problems communicating with their headquarters, and 23% expected that issue to continue over the coming three years.

This was a bigger issue in the emerging markets of Southeast Asia, with 24% of the Philippines-based respondents and 22% of those in Vietnam experiencing communication issues with their parent organisations.

“While we are pleased to discover that many employees have a positive outlook regarding business growth over the next year, the results of this survey demonstrate that there are still areas for improvement in HR procedures across Asia,” he said.

“RGF across the region under the brand names of RGF Executive Search, RGF Professional Recruitment and RGF HR Agent is a keen advocate for HR best practices and we hope that these results can help companies to refine and review their practices, and support employees across every aspect of their work life.” John Tucker, Regional Head for Southeast Asia and Japan, noted that there was still a strong positive outlook for business growth across all markets. Over 91% of respondents in India, for example, were expecting the market to grow in 2018.

The RGF Market Outlook Survey was completed in the second half of 2017.
It featured responses from over 1,200 business and HR leaders in: Singapore, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, India, Thailand,  Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Vietnam. For more information, visit