From the downturn of the early 1990s to the deadly tsunami in Japan in March, Robert Walters’ London-based chief operating officer, Giles Daubeney, has seen his share of tough times. Nevertheless, the seasoned recruitment executive remains largely upbeat about the company’s prospects in Asia.
What brings you to Hong Kong?
I’m here to catch up with the regional CEO, who just moved here from Australia. I’m also here to see Matthew [Bennett], who’s responsible for the Hong Kong business, and to look into investment opportunities for 2012.
Does this indicate more focus on Asia Pacific and Greater China?
At present, Australia remains our largest operation in this part of the world. [But] we seem to be growing quite rapidly in this region – we’re growing in China, Hong Kong and in Singapore, and we recently opened a branch in Taiwan.
Do you plan on opening offices elsewhere in the region?
We will place more offices in the region, but the way we manage the business is not necessarily top-down. We have some quality senior people in this region who are incentivised and rewarded on a budget. They’re the ones who suggest which markets we should be looking at.
After this, we research the market, send people there on various projects, look into who our competitors are, and start to apply for licences, if needed. So, we do a lot of analysis before we actually enter a market.
What kind of job functions might you be looking to help fuel your regional expansion?
We’re probably looking to recruit new consultants in all areas. So that’s accounting, legal, sales and marketing, supply chain and engineering. Now, different countries are in different stages of expansion, so we will be adding heads everywhere, but the actual number I can’t say for sure.
Will there be any internal transfers?
We will expand and, where appropriate, give opportunities for international careers. These people could come from anywhere provided they meet two or three criteria. For example, they have to have been with the company for a minimum of two years and they have to have proved themselves in that job that they’re in.
How would you describe the ideal recruitment c