PHL executive-search firms seen to flourish in integrated Asean

By: Catherine Pillas

Business Mirror

December 14, 2014

The executive-search industry is confident of its prospects at the onset of the Asean integration in January 2016, expecting a healthy demand for Filipino talents in top-tier positions in the region.

“The industry is here to stay. We’re trying to evaluate the impact of the Asean integration and, overall, it’s a good development. And from the standpoint of Filipino executives, it’s an even better development because of our distinct advantages,” said Jun Gil, president of the Philippine Association of Executive Search Professionals Inc. (PAESPI), in an interview.

The industry also sees the scaling up of local small and medium enterprises (SMEs) as another growth engine. The local executive-search industry, which essentially deals with the recruitment of executives and top-level personnel and matches them with client-businesses, has slowly been growing, notching a range of 10 percent-to-15 percent growth in the last five years, Gil said.

This growth trend, he added, has not been deterred by the advent of modern forms of job recruitment.

Gil, who operates Amrop Philippines, observed that though online job portals have gained popularity, the impact on the corporate matching industry is negligible as the pool of talents where they source candidates from are different.

“From experience, online job marketplaces like JobStreet and JobsDB, tend to suit the needs of non-managerial positions like officers, rank-and-file employees and secretaries, so they serve a purpose; but executives don’t go around sending their resumes because confidentiality of the search is key to industry. So the talents [our clients] are looking for are unlikely to be found there,” explained PAESPI Vice President and President of H.I.R.E. (Highest Integrity in Recruiting Executives) Ma. Carmen “Babes” T. Guevara in the same interview.

Gil said although the worth of the industry cannot be quantified, currently, 70 percent of executive and top-level executives are still culled from the executive-search industry.

Industries serviced by executive-search firms include the business process outsourcing (BPO), industrial, chemical, pharmaceutical, retail/food service, telecommunications and utilities, to name a few.

The BPO industry, in particular, has been a significant driver of the executive-search industry’s growth, Gil said.

Given the healthy demand for its service, the outlook of the industry is rosy when the Asean integration begins, primarily because of the competitive edge of the Filipino talent pool, the industry president said.

The regional integration will allow for free exchange of not just goods and commodities, but also of labor, which may be a boon for the industry, given the profile of the Filipino executives.

“The Filipino executives, aside from the excellent English skills, have good academic training, have been trained by a lot of multinational companies, and are adaptable. The Asean integration will favor the Filipino executives,” the PAESPI head said.

Another growth driver for the industry, whose revenues are determined by the salary grade of the candidates they place in top-tier positions, is the expansion of local SMEs, which are expanding their client base, aside from conglomerates and large corporations.

“SMEs are getting bolder because of the economy; they’re starting to flex their muscles and they have been a source of growth. There are many expanding SMEs now that are professionalizing and looking for executives to fill their top positions,” Gil added.