An article of Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (Nikkei Industries Newspaper) about an interview with the President of AIMS International, Rolf Heeb, released on January 29, 2013, conducted by Keiichi Furukawa.
Mid-Career Talent Acquisitions – Actively Utilized in China and Korea
Self-Confined Culture of Japanese Companies Hinders Competitiveness
In conjunction with the growth of the Asian economy, the demand for executive resources is rapidly expanding in each country. AIMS International, a Europe-centered, leading global executive search firm who are developing their business in Asian countries, is focusing on the search for executives in the region. We have asked about the human resource trend in Asia to Rolf Heeb, President of AIMS International.
— How are the demands for headhunting in the world?
“The demands have recovered to over 90 percent of the peak level marked before Lehman Brothers crash. Especially expanding is the demand for management level positions in the growing Asia region. Demand at Western financial institutions is weak supposedly because of the remaining impact of the European sovereign debt crisis. The high expectation we have now is the talent acquisition demands in the countries to which Japanese companies are advancing in relation to their globalization.”
“As the result of the globalization of the economy, cross-border executive searches have become popular. When a company launches a new product or service simultaneously in the global market, they need to fill multiple positions with excellent management talents. The search firms are now demanded for global-scale service delivery capabilities.”
— What kind of talents is demanded in the market?
“People with high expertise are wanted, among others. There are strong demands for managers who have knowledge and experience in intellectual property and legal affairs. People who have been involved in start-up of overseas business locations are especially valued as immediate assets.
— What companies are actively hiring new employees in Asia?
“In addition to global multinationals such as major automobile manufacturers, there are increasing demands for searches by small and medium enterprises who are developing the business globally. Recently, we filled a country manager position with our candidate. In terms of the industries, there are a variety of clients such as manufacturers, house builders, and cosmetic companies.”
“Chinese and Korean companies are actively and effectively using our service. They are presenting strong competitiveness by far more quickly adapting themselves to the local environments of the countries they advance to, in comparison to Japanese companies. Placing local nationals to the top management of the local entities is probably one of the reasons of their success”
—What are the problems of Japanese companies?
“Chinese and Korean companies do not hesitate to place local nationals to the top management. In contrast, Japanese companies use search firms just for hiring middle management positions. The top management positions are mostly filled by Japanese expats sent from the headquarters. Japanese companies tend to be self-confined in the areas of personnel assignment and industrial relations in the local community. The strength of Japanese people is the high level of education and business sense. I consider Japanese companies will be able to expand their businesses more quickly if they can increase talents who are knowledgeable in the local cultures and environment.