Innovative Business Ideas

The Nation: Companies seeking management talent

01 November 1999

Editor: In 2004, Edwin Sim established Human Capital Alliance, Thailand’s  Premier Executive Search & Recruitment Firm. Between 1997-2003, Edwin Sim was Managing Partner of Korn Ferry Thailand.  This article was first published in the Nation in November 1999.

Despite the lingering doubts over Thailand ’s economic recovery and worries about the recapitalization of the banking sector, there remains a strong demand for top-level management expertise in various industries, due mainly to a wave of mergers and acquisitions as well as a realization by many firms that hiring competent staff is vitally important.

Edwin Sim, the country head of Korn Ferry Thailand, said that the biggest demand for talented top-level management was in financial institutions, the consumer-products sector, and the industrial and advanced-technologies sectors.

The Bangkok division of Korn Ferry International, the largest executive-recruitment firm in the world, was established 12 years ago. In recent years, the firm has provided an executive search service for more than 10 per cent of the Fortune 100 companies that have operations here.

Sim said that an influx of foreign staff in local financial institutions and retail firms had driven demand for top executives in both sectors. The advanced-technologies sector offers a number of opportunities for qualified executives, particularly in Internet-related businesses.

Companies with Internet-based business platforms for electronic commerce (e-commerce), including stock trading in the Net definitely need professionals, he said.

A rising demand for talent was expected to occur in the auto industry following major investments in Thailand by the world’s two largest automakers, General Motors and Ford. “Selected candidates must have a good combination of professional experience at both foreign and Thai firms. Communication skills, especially in English, are deemed very important as the business environment becomes more international,” Sim said.

However, the supply of qualified persons in executive management positions remains well short of the demand, and by comparison, the demand for middle-management expertise has dropped over the last couple of years while the supply remains relatively large, he said.

Although the economic crisis forced most companies to downsize their workforce and reduce payrolls, overall salaries have continued to increase, he said. In 1999, salaries are expected to rise 5.8 per cent from last year levels, following a 7.6-per-cent increase from 1997 averages.

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