Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Market So far.

The job market has picked up. I think, one thing good which most companies have put in place is their decision to take their businesses, products and solutions overseas. Either that or they innovated on their sales strategies, worked harder and pressed on deals which were on the pipeline. A lot of companies which implemented operation cost cutting has somewhat bounced back and begun hiring and projects have now started. Maybe I only speak for a few hence the decision on hiring and acquiring new talent. Despite that, the demand for employee’s have been rather difficult as people are still although exploring yet choosy on career moves. It is still the employers market and talent war is very much still alive. Just a few months back there was an influx of SAP Consultants in the market and now, most of the consultants have been employed, in that area of IT the market is still moving fast, despite of the layoffs from a few SAP companies here.

There is much more emphasis on key technical areas, such as talents from project management, solutions architects from various backgrounds, low-level hardcore programming, Quality Assurance, infrastructure engineers, product and solution driven talents to consultants from the consulting industry.

I see the market picking up and this is the time to be aggressive. The hiring game will somehow come about alive again, perhaps not just yet but soon. Maybe during the first quarter. The market has been volatile so I am being skeptical but my fellow colleagues are rather confident.

I am getting more calls for sales talents and most companies have now proposed their resources budgets for FY2010. Usually when companies start hiring account managers or business developers, this is a good sign that business is picking up and there is a need for new and constant business development. A lesson that a few people in sales took from the downturn is this, the importance of client rapport and good client support, innovation on key selling skills and also most importantly relationships. This actually was the same for me because, most executive search firms just come and go, just like that, after an assignment or two. I leveraged on this because despite us not being able to fulfill certain positions and found it difficult to find other clients, I leveraged on rapport and relationships. I took this alternative because I would like them to know whether there was business or not, that I am always there for their executive search needs. Maybe not now, but some other time and this has paid off.

I also think that most people who have moved in 08 and in 09 as a basis to job hop might find it hard to secure something in 2010 because especially in these critical 2 years, companies would’ve prefer their employees to stick with them rather than take flight at the slightest fear of insecurity. Unfortunately but especially in sales. It also separates the real performers than the non-performers. But then again, in this day and age, loyalty is not a factor which is highly regarded right?

I really took a lesson from the 4th quarter of last year because I took the first quarter in 09 for granted. From a business perspective I did not prepare myself for the downturn despite a few signs showing in November/December 08. So a lesson learnt from that is, push harder despite the end of the year being slow business months and despite all the say on how good next year is going to be, I will take it as it is going to be as hard as it was this year.

I think you should too!


Monday, November 16, 2009

Train and Place

A friend of mine is currently involved in the Train and place program for unemployed graduates or diploma holder students and those with less than a years of working experience and the retrenched. This program is funded by the government and it kicks off with about, if I can remember correctly 80 to a 100 students per-program. Its fully funded by the Ministry of Human Resources and the award goes out to training companies who fit the criteria. More information here:
Anyway, there are more details out on the net, but where I come in is, he needed help from someone from the industry to conduct mock interviews in the real world for his unemployed candidates to prepare them for the interviews after they have completed the program. I think I did about 30-40 interviews with graduates and diploma holders from the Electrical and Electronics qualifications, Culinary, Physiotherapy, Human Resources and a few more, all either Degree and Diploma holders. It was a good session because it reminded me when I was a graduate out there looking for a job and also reminded me of the time when we had implemented a management trainee program for my previous company when I was working in HR, only that time we interviewed about 5-600 graduates.

To be honest, I expected more out of the graduates. The program was good, it does help and transform the graduates but I am worried. Out of the I think the 40 candidates I interviewed I felt that only about 10% were willing to help themselves secure a good job out there. Only 10% stood out. The 10% that stood out were from rural areas and had taken a lot of thought in getting themselves a good foundation for a career and had no luck. Of course, all of them had taken initiative by attending this program but I only I identified these few.

One problem was English. Most of the candidates were from rural areas and had trouble expressing themselves in English. Another problem was the lack of knowledge on the industry and confidence. Base on the issues above, you can understand why they have low confidence. It is upsetting because, what I get out of this interviews is; here are candidates who I know will do a good job because of their aspirations and persistence in wanting to do well but will likely get turned down by employers because of their lack of communication skills. I can see them trying very hard to address our questions and trying very hard to express themselves. Their lack of general knowledge and industry knowledge could also be a factor to this. I am also upset to know that the basis of their lack of either confidence, industry knowledge, passion is from their Education! There is no one to blame unless this changes. Also, industrial training was done for most companies which just needed additional manpower and not much emphasis on learning. This is what I gathered from the interviews.

Sources from this website:
http://educationmalaysia.blogspot.com/2006/07/70-public-university-graduates-jobless.html says there about 20, 000 unemployed graduates in 2006 I think we can add more to that now, what makes it worst is that they are from local universities. Most of the graduates from this programs were from local universities anyway.

My point is, these are graduates which will not be given a chance to be noticed and to work in the field that they are wanting to work in because one fine day after waiting on those applications, countless rejections and no hear from interviews, they will become frustrated and end up choosing just any jobs that come their way. They come to this program expected to be hired at the end of the program and given RM500 per month for the 3 month duration but all in all, this dare I say will not be a total guarantee of their futures, because after the train and place program the training companies are expected to find a job for these graduates or retrenched workers.

These came from those with the qualifications I stated above, but what about the rest I.e., IT, Bio-technology, Civil engineering, Accounting etc? The basis of this is perhaps if local Education Institutions puts in place a learning program to prepare their soon to be graduates for the real world such as making good CV’s, mock interviews, writing cover letters, real world industry knowledge and not theoretical but fundamental knowledge, this will possibly allow a higher chance for their graduates to be land a job after graduation. Also more emphasis on communications skills, please.

On the bright side these graduates took the initiative to enroll in this course because this prepares them and transform for their next phase of life, but in the first place, why did they have to resort to this program?

Sometimes I believe employers should give candidates a chance. Although it is easier said than done, but I have been in a situation before and from what I remember if you can identity a candidate who is wanting to learn, this candidate will achieve. Putting together a management trainee program could also help. Speaking of management trainee and this is disappointing, one of the graduates recently went for an interview with GE Malaysia for one of their management trainee programs and she was told off by one of the hiring managers that she is useless and not appropriate for the program. I mean seriously? Who gave any manager a right to tell off someone about being useless, particularly so if it is GE Malaysia? Damn disappointing.

Anyway my hopes rests on this program because it helps the unemployed graduates to get noticed and given a chance to be hired in their right field and a foundation for their career! One of the better moves by our government. Cheers!