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Language skills are critical
update on Friday, June 24, 2011

Recruitment in the retail and luxury sector remained strong for the first half of the year, with roles in brand management and retail operations particularly in high demand.

Due to a candidate-short market, companies tried to retain their employees by providing aggressive counter-offers. Strong candidates who were looking to switch roles, especially those with Mandarin-language capability, were able to get 20 per cent to 30 per cent salary increments, with some even doubling their pay within a year.

In the fast-moving consumer goods sector, we also saw an increase in hiring in the first half. There was a specific demand for key account managers and brand managers as a result of natural attrition. This talent shortage meant that some candidates were able to command salary increments of between 10 per cent and 20 per cent - or even higher.

With retail tipped to continue expanding, we expect candidates with retail operations and brand management experience to remain in demand, along with key account managers and visual merchandising managers. English and Mandarin language skills will be critical, and those with poor communication skills are likely to have limited opportunities.

Hilly Dannaoui, manager of sales and marketing division, Robert Walters Hong Kong

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