Opportunities in Southeast Asia

Tricia Tan

Tricia Tan previously worked as an auditor in Big 4 firms Ernst and Young and PWC before making the move into recruitment in 2010. She is now a HR Director for Southeast Asia based in our Singapore office, and helps to recruit people to work for Robert Walters across the region.

“I currently head up internal resourcing for Robert Walters in Southeast Asia across Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines. In a nutshell - I recruit recruiters! So a big part of my job is finding and screening candidates who have good communication skills and the energy and passion to work in recruitment.

Recruiting in Southeast Asia

In Southeast Asia, we typically tend to hire industry professionals such as lawyers, accountants, marketers etc. Industry hires comprise a large part of our employee base as industry professionals are able to quickly establish a rapport and connect to senior clients and candidates, having come from a similar background. Generally, we look for people with strong sales skills and a positive approach, who can work well in a team. You need to be prepared for success, but also mindful that rejection will be part of the job too, so it’s good to be resilient. 

A range of opportunities

Singapore and Malaysia are both mature markets which are extremely fast moving and competitive - speed is of the essence when securing the right hire. They are very cosmopolitan cities, and from a language and cultural perspective, the easiest markets in Asia to assimilate into. In contrast, the other markets I recruit in such as Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines and Thailand, are relatively young, emerging markets, where there is great potential for growth. Relative to Singapore and Malaysia, these are large markets which are experiencing high growth with little competition.

If you are a recruiter today, there are very good opportunities to catch that wave of growth and take home some healthy pay checks. Because of this, we have lots of interest from candidates overseas looking to move out here. In Singapore we have the Fair Consideration Framework to consider - a government initiative that requires employers to consider Singaporeans fairly for all job opportunities before hiring expats. 

Why should someone come to work for Robert Walters?

Robert Walters has a proven track record in recruitment and our numerous awards are a testament to the strength of our business. We’re also lucky to count some of Asia and the world’s greatest brands as our clients. International mobility is a big part of our business so if employees have aspirations to work abroad, we like to support them. We also promote from within and are fully committed to providing long-term, international careers for our staff. A big portion of our senior management team joined Robert Walters as a consultant and have worked their way up to the top of the company. We operate on a team profit sharing model, which forms a big part of the Robert Walters ‘DNA’ - forging a strong team spirit. 

Our culture 

I work in the Singapore office, where the atmosphere is dynamic, fast paced and fun. We’re very social and will all go out for drinks on a Friday night - which is great as it gives people a chance to network outside of their teams and helps to build relationships. We do lots of exciting things in the office like have Hawker food stalls come into the building so we can try traditional Singaporean dishes like chicken rice. Across all of our offices in Southeast Asia, there is a strong emphasis on fun - it’s one of our key values as a business. 

What advice would you give to someone considering recruitment?

Research the recruitment industry well and choose a company with solid financial footing that matches your values. This is a hugely rewarding career but be under no illusions it is ultimately a sales focused role.”

At Robert Walters we promote from within and are fully committed to providing long-term, international careers for our staff. A big portion of our senior management team joined Robert Walters as a consultant.

Want to know more about careers in Asia? See how Joanne Chua went from consultant to account director in Singapore.

Interested in a career with clear progression? Please send an up-to-date CV to seainternalrecruitment@robertwalters.com