When Lazard hired Glenn Porritt as its new investment banking head in Singapore, it took a surprisingly long time about it. The position had been left unoccupied for a good 18 months, reported FinanceAsia.
While a protracted recruitment period of over a year seems to be the exception rather than the rule, recruiters say it’s certainly taking more time to replace people in this uneasy market.
Eunice Ng, director, Avanza Consulting, says finding new hires now takes anything from four to six months (or more). Last year, she says it took one to three months. “Hiring managers are being more careful when replacing staff – they want to make sure they’ve seen the right candidates before a decision is made to avoid cost wastage,” says Ng.
Momentum – or not
Gary Lai, managing director, South East Asia, Charterhouse Partnership, agrees that hiring is taking longer, but says sentiment has improved and that momentum should pick up soon.
The time taken to hire depends on the particular role. Certain functions like compliance and credit risk tend to be more critical as compared to operations and finance, adds Lai. Senior hires may take longer because of the rigorous criteria involved and having existing staff available to double hat these responsibilities could also further delay the process.
Of course the longer it takes to replace someone, the tougher it is on the morale of remaining employees who are required to pick up the slack. Ng says: “Staff may be demotivated and feel that they are unable to deal with their own job.”
As for the Lazard appointment? An unnamed source tells us the firm proceeded cautiously as it wanted to be very certain that market activity levels required such a senior hire.