Hi Rally community, my name is Joyce Chan, and I’m a Recruitment Marketing & employer branding practitioner for 10+ markets in the Asia Pacific (APAC) region.
Employer branding and Recruitment Marketing jobs are relatively new in Asia and this has only recently become an emerging field here. Since I’ve had the privilege of leading these initiatives in APAC, I wanted to share my knowledge with all of you. I’ll be sharing a few insights into the talent market in APAC, how to attract candidates in this region and what content is resonating with talent across APAC.
One of my focuses has been on attracting junior talent, interns and new grads from universities and colleges across the globe to work in our APAC offices. But with Recruitment Marketing gaining more traction in Asia, we have recently begun to focus on building out our employer brand and Recruitment Marketing strategies for more experienced talent too, including taking past successes in the campus field and translating that to a strategy that works for experienced hires in the region. Let me share how my experience in attracting both early careers talent and professional talent can help you build your talent attraction strategy in APAC.
A look at APAC’s talent attraction landscape
#1 – Localization is ultra important in the APAC region
Asia is a very diverse continent, with hundreds of different languages, religions and cultures, which is beautiful, but can also pose some recruiting challenges. That means you have to take a targeted and localized approach if you want your content to resonate with all of your audiences. That includes translating content into different languages and making sure that imagery reflects the population that you are trying to attract – e.g. having an Asian face in your employee videos would be great!
#2 – Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) programs are being prioritized in APAC too; but there are some unique challenges when it comes to both gender diversity and LGBT+ inclusion
Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) is one key area that many companies are focused on improving this year. Whether it’s promoting gender equity, expanding the diversity of our talent pools or creating a safe space for LGBTQ+ employees, many companies in APAC are working hard to make sure that all of our employees feel like they belong.
However, for DEI recruiting in APAC, there are unique challenges when it comes to recruiting gender diverse talent because the sentiment around women in the workforce is different here. While employers have made great strides in bringing more women into the workforce, in some cultures, women are still expected to have a more “relaxed” career — if they have a career at all — since there is still an emphasis put on being a family caretaker first and foremost. This can dissuade some women from beginning a career in finance or sales, for example, and instead seek out jobs that are perceived as less demanding, which can limit the diversity of your talent pool.
As for the LGBT+ population, the spectrum of readiness of companies in attracting diverse talent is even wider. In Asia where, for example, homosexuality is still illegal in certain countries, some companies tend to abide to local culture and tradition while others may take a more progressive stance. There is still a long way to go!
#3 – You have to work harder to attract passive talent in APAC
One thing I’ve learned in recruiting experienced talent is that they are much more passive than campus talent. For example, campus talent typically need internships to graduate, so they’re excited and passionate about finding a new role. And usually, at that age, they’re excited to relocate or travel for work.
Meanwhile, experienced talent have different priorities. They often have less of an appetite to relocate, and in some cases, it can be really difficult to persuade them to leave their current role. Plus, in many APAC cultures, employees have a stronger loyalty toward their current employer and are not open to leaving their role, even for better compensation and benefits.
Ultimately, APAC is a really unique market full of opportunities! However, you have to be willing to put in a lot of hard work and come up with innovative and creative solutions to attract and retain talent in this region.
#4 – Most of the popular global social media platforms are effective for Recruitment Marketing in APAC
People may be surprised to learn that employers in APAC use a lot of the same platforms for recruiting that you would use in North America and Europe. We leverage social media channels like LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube.
However, one major platform that is different is WeChat. WeChat is a multi-purpose messaging, social media and mobile payment app that is a particularly important tool if you’re recruiting in China. Recruiters can advertise job opportunities on news feeds (posts only seen by friends) or launch public accounts to publish recruiting announcements.
Building out an effective WeChat recruitment strategy and campaign is very different from other channels, due to the structure of its ecosystem. For example, WeChat posts can be very eye catching and dynamic, and there is no size limitation to the graphics. Also, with the use of QR codes, you can easily promote links to multiple job vacancies – a feature which is not available on Instagram currently.
#5 – Many APAC organizations are heavily focused on creating a stand-out candidate experience on mobile
APAC is a mobile-first region, but many employers are lagging behind when it comes to taking a mobile-first approach to recruiting. Data privacy concerns have been a key issue to overcome. More companies are simplifying job applications and adapting content to be more mobile-friendly, for a more seamless candidate experience.
#6 – As in other markets, employee wellness is very attractive to APAC candidates right now
Right now, candidates are really attracted to content that showcases how your organization supports employee wellness. This extends beyond your regular medical benefits to perks like gym memberships or stipends to purchase equipment to work from home effectively. For example, a social media post that showcases your team taking a virtual yoga class together is a simple, yet effective message that candidates are attracted to.
While employee wellness in Asia was still in its infancy stage prior to the pandemic, COVID-19 has forced employers to ramp up their efforts here. Today, companies that have progressive perks and policies in place are much more attractive to candidates looking for an employer that cares.
#7 – Campus ambassador programs are an important way to connect with talent in APAC
In many cases, candidates in the APAC region will start their job search by researching the different types of roles and companies that the alumni from their alma mater work in. So, to connect with this audience, you might consider starting a campus ambassador program.
This involves leveraging your recent grads and employees who are 1-2 years out of school to act as advocates on social media and at recruitment events. It will help your candidates gain more insight into working at your company by letting them see firsthand how people similar to them have grown their careers in the organization.
Overall, if you’re looking to expand your recruitment efforts to the APAC region, my main takeaway is this: try to understand each local market on a deep level — know the language, the different social media channels, candidate preferences and the cultural climate to better understand how to attract talent most effectively in a given country.