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Recruiting on Asian Job Boards

With Internet access spreading across Asia, employers can tap a growing array of online sites for sourcing candidates.

March 7, 2007
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Related Topics: Candidate Sourcing, Staffing Management
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Vault.com is a well-established hunting ground for job candidates looking for U.S. job postings and inside information on employers. Recruiters post 500,000 openings a month on the site’s job board and monitor the message boards to track candidate and employee postings about their company.

    Vault analyzed its traffic data in 2005 and discovered that many of the users on its U.S. site were job seekers in Asia looking for career information and insider perspectives on U.S multinationals. To meet this obvious need, Vault launched its Asia site a year ago. Vault Asia now averages more than 200,000 unique visitors a month and posts jobs for employers across Asia.

    Recruiters and job seekers can now find detailed information on the interview process for a technician at Ikea in Shenzhen, China, or the signing bonus for engineers at Qualcomm in Hyderabad, India. New hires freely report their experiences with the recruiting process and salary offers at major companies.

    This year, Vault will break up the Vault Asia site into targeted sites for individual countries, with new sites for India, China and South Korea going live in the first quarter of 2007.

    "Hiring is through the roof in Asia, particularly in China and India," says Edward Shen, general manager of Vault Asia.

    Vault is part of the boom in career sites and job boards that is sweeping Asia. Internet recruiting has become a primary recruiting method in China and India, where economic growth is fueling nonstop hiring across all industries.

    Recruiters are posting on the sites as soon as they appear. On January 11, NewChinaCareer.com went live. One month later, postings on the site for jobs in China included 296 positions at Microsoft, 320 at IBM and 492 at GE. Recruiters are using the site to source candidates with fluency in English for jobs in all the major cities in mainland China plus Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore.

Growing access
    Job growth is explosive across Asia. China’s major cities generated 12 million new jobs in 2006, according to the National Bureau of Statistics of China. GDP growth in China hit 10.7 percent in 2006, a full point above expectations.

    India reported GDP growth of 9.2 percent for 2006 and surpassed South Korea to become Asia’s third-largest economy, after Japan and China. Job growth is soaring at both foreign and Indian multinationals.

    "Accenture is hiring 500 people a month in Bangalore alone," Shen says.

    This volume of hiring is possible only when sourcing is fully automated through employment sites. The major players are job boards such as ChinaHR.com, which posts nearly 1 million jobs each day and offers 10 million registered job seekers. ChinaHR, the oldest employment site in China, sold a 40 percent stake in the site to Monster.com in 2005.

    Recruit.net, a fully trilingual job search engine based in Hong Kong, posts 2 million jobs a month in English, Chinese and Japanese for positions in China, Japan, Australia, India and Singapore.

    "Throughout Asia, the major job sites are becoming very important parts of the culture of each country," Shen says. "They have a major presence through advertising."

    The number of Internet users in Asia is approaching 400 million, up 241 percent from 2000, according to Internet World. Although the Asian Internet penetration rate is only 10.5 percent overall, penetration in South Korea, Singapore and Japan is roughly equivalent to the U.S. rate of 69.6 percent.

    China had 137 million Internet users by the end of 2006, up 23 percent from 2005, according to the China Internet Information Center. In Beijing and Shanghai, penetration is approaching 40 percent; in Hong Kong, it is 68.2 percent.

    "In India and China, Internet use among the younger generation is at the same level as in the United States," Shen reports. "Our surveys of Vault’s Asian members show that they are starved for information about careers and employers. The focus on careers among recent graduates is greater than what we see in the United States."

    Rapid growth and high turnover drive constant recruiting. "Young professionals in China will change jobs two or three times a year and leave a company for a small salary increase at another company," Shen says.

    Private-sector wages in China rose 11.4 percent for the year ending in the third quarter of 2006, according to the National Bureau of Statistics of China.

    High demand is balanced by a high supply. Vault’s recruiting contacts in China and India report that the supply of candidates is strong and that many companies say they have too many applicants.

    "InfoSys in India had 1.3 million applicants in 2006, with a large portion of this coming in through the company’s Web site," Shen notes. "Young professionals are focused on brands, so a company like InfoSys receives many résumés."

    In China, multinationals and top domestic companies are looking for specific skills from native Chinese with English-language skills, so the challenge is to identify the right people, Shen says. Multinationals recruiting for professional positions on local job boards receive an extraordinarily large volume of responses and need to be prepared to target individuals.

Global partnerships
    The online recruitment market in Asia is still far behind that of the United States, according to Maneck Mohan, director of Recruit.net. In Recruit.net’s markets, Australia is the most mature and China the least developed in the transition from traditional offline media job postings to online postings.

    "In the United States, 80 percent of the Fortune 500 companies now accept only online job applications," Mohan says. "For the Asia 500, this number is just below 25 percent, and we expect it to reach 40 percent by the end of 2008."

    Because the site drives targeted job seeker traffic to the job listings on the company’s Web site, all information flows directly into the employer’s application tracking system.

    Companies that use Recruit.net’s premium services can tap the site’s pay-per-click system. The companies define their own budget and then only pay for job seekers that click through to their job listings instead of paying for each posting.

    Recruit.net also offers job-seeker analytics to measure the effectiveness of job advertisements and to collect information on job seeker behavior.

    "For example, companies can track the keywords that job seekers used to find their job, how many times the job was displayed and the percentage of displays that resulted in a job seeker click-through," Mohan reports.

    The jobs are also syndicated across a network of partner sites and distributed to niche sites, forums and blogs.

    "This dramatically increases the reach and visibility of the jobs to a passive, highly targeted job seeker audience," Mohan says.

    In November 2006, Recruit.net entered into a partnership with the U.S.-based DirectEmployers Association, which maintains JobCentral.com, an employer-owned search engine. Many of DirectEmployers’ members are large U.S. multinationals. Jobs posted on either of the two sites now automatically appear on both.

    "U.S. employers with operations in Asia are the primary users," says Bill Warren, CEO of DirectEmployers. "It gives them another outlet and a much more cost-effective way to reach job seekers in Asian locations." More than 140 U.S. employers are now using the Recruit.net site for posting jobs at their Asian locations.

    The flat membership fee of $12,500 a year for DirectEmployers companies includes international job postings. Non-member companies can post a position for $25.

    Job seekers who are interested in a job posted on JobCentral.com are automatically routed to the company’s Web site, so DirectEmployers does not have information on the final outcome for candidates or employers.

    "But the member company renewal rate is 95 percent, indicating a high level of satisfaction with the offerings," Warren says.

    Warren believes that the rapid expansion of global recruiting conducted through the Internet will continue.

    "Over the next few years, we’ll see more of the upward spiral in usage," he says. He notes that both Monster and CareerBuilder are pushing for an international presence. The number of employment Web sites stands at 40,000 worldwide, according to the International Association of Employment Web Sites.

    "Also, international job listings will become a commodity as they are now becoming in the U.S, with no charge for the listings and all revenues for the site driven by advertising," Warren says. "We see this approach now with the rise of Google, which will have a huge impact on Internet recruiting over the next few years. Developments overseas lag three to four years behind the U.S."

    The technology is in place for global recruiting and true workforce mobility, but it’s difficult to project political developments with respect to visa regulations, Warren says. With Asian multinationals now investing heavily in the U.S. and Europe, however, the push for simultaneous job postings across all regions will accelerate.

    As Asian multinationals continue their cross-border merger-and-acquisition activities and buy up more U.S.-based companies, job postings will flow out from the Asian firms and create new opportunities for global job boards and for recruiters working in the U.S. and abroad.

Recent Articles by Fay Hansen

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