By SIRIVISH TOOMGUM
Robert Walters is a global specialist professional recruitment consultancy. Its office in Bangkok recently marked a decade of operations. The company focuses on seeking high-calibre professionals for permanent, contract and temporary positions at all levels of seniority.
“Ten years ago, employers sought candidates who were an exact match for the job description. Routine roles, such as administrative and operational jobs, were very common for both employers and candidates back then,” said Punyanuch Sirisawadwattana, Robert Walters Thailand’s director of commerce, HR, banking & IT division.
Given the advancements in technology, the administrative and operational tasks can now be completed easily by computers. Companies are expecting people to deliver more than just routine work and need individuals who can work strategically, she said.
“Candidates will need to have a good grasp of all the business functions and a strong understanding of what is core to the success of the business. Being an expert only in your field is no longer enough. Now that we’re living in a digitalised world, employers need someone who can adapt quickly to change, learn fast and can make use of technology in their functions,” she said.
Natiya Saul, the consultancy’s director of sales and marketing, supply chain and engineering division, said that diversified experience is very important, as employers want to see candidates with multiple skill sets and experience across various industries.
“Hiring managers are now looking for candidates who can apply their experience from another industry to their own. Candidates with experience in different fields will also find that they are able to advance their careers more quickly,” said Natiya.
“In the past, when employers looked for top management, they turned to expats as they have international experience. However, nowadays they prefer to hire locals who have both exposure and experience working for multinational companies,” Natiya said.
She added that she has seen growing demand across different industries for commercial directors, though it is not a new role. In the past two to three years, there is also more and more demand for e-commerce and digital marketing experts.
Both directors share a common view that one thing their clients are particularly seeking is a candidate with working experience with multinational companies. The clients want someone who can work smart, not just hard. Candidates with a long healthy tenure for a minimum of three years in their previous companies are also favoured, as this shows their loyalty.
Employers are also looking for candidates with strong English communication abilities and leadership skills, as well as strategic, logical and analytical thinking.
In discussing the technology trends that could disrupt the recruitment industry in the future, Punyanuch sees Artificial Intelligence (AI) replacing functions such as operational tasks but believes the technology will not be able to replace recruitment consultants.
“At the end of the day, humans will still be required to make a decision whether a person is the right choice. For us, AI and technology is a tool that supports and augments our existing knowledge and processes, allowing both our consultants and the business to work faster and in a much more efficient way.”
Robert Walters Thailand is now using the International Knowledge Measurement (IKM), an IT professional third-party online testing program, to enhance and improve the hiring process, and ensure clients secure the skilled talent they seek.
“In an increasingly digital world, technology has allowed us to work more effectively and efficiently with our clients and candidates,” said Punyanuch. “We have an innovation team within the company to help us understand new developments and technology within the industry. We are not afraid to adapt to change. For example, we’ve leveraged social media to easily connect and reach out to candidates and clients. When face-to face interviews are not possible, we use video calling applications.”
And as to the future of her own industry, Natiya said: “As the world becomes increasingly digital, we see the role of a recruiter becoming even more meaningful. Recruitment is a process that involves humans, and our expertise in the field is invaluable. AI may take over some tasks over the next five years; however, the relationship which we have with our clients and candidates will allow us to stay strong in this competitive market.”