Rising attrition and what to do!

Below is an excerpt from a recent interview I did for Campaign Asia on attrition rates in the media and communications world. It’s bad, and a senior regional exec I know well said in a cynical tone “well its all good for you, Rob!” which demonstrated what I know people think when they do see the stats…recruiters must be making tons of money.

The reality is different. Sure it’s easier to get vacancies on a contingency basis. Sure we don’t need to chase a million clients to get a snippet of work. However, it is a lot harder to fill them AND believe it or not, high turnover is not exactly an attractive trait for a company to have that we represent. It is not a sustainable position for anyone.

Job satisfaction for a good recruiter is not money but relationships and they only thrive when all concerned are getting what they need. We want the Talent issues fixed more than anyone and I would much rather clients partner us on retention and engagement strategies, and listen to us when we are talking about employment branding and partnership solutions that will improve your talent acquisition success and reduce costs, than spend more money on repeat contingent recruitment transactions.

Rob Fanshawe, managing director of Xpand Asia, which specialises in recruitment for the technology, media and communications sectors, says turnover rates have already risen from around 20 per cent a few years ago to over 30.  

“In some agencies it has recently been as high as 40 per cent,” he says.“That means people are moving jobs on average every two to three years.”

Within advertising and media, Fanshawe says much of the attrition is borne out of an industry sector in continuous change through the growth of ‘digital’.

Online media has exploded and large corporate companies, like Lenovo, are now catching up and starting to build their own, dedicated internal teams.”

He says the Asia-Pacific region has generally higher attrition rates at the moment because, even factoring in the global financial crisis, it consists of the key growth markets where talent is in short supply.

A Robert Walters survey found that over 55 per cent of professionals in the Asia-Pacific region are hoping to move jobs in the next three months. The research was part of a global poll that interviewed 2835 professional-level workers around the world. Each was asked when they were hoping to switch jobs, with options ranging from three months to three years. As well as the 55% of regional staff who hoped to leave within the next quarter, a further 25% hoped to leave their current employment within six months.

With all this in mind please make sure you start thinking about Talent in a completely 360 fashion. Every single candidate you speak to is a channel to market, every job you have an opportunity to stand out. Your Talent Acquisition solutions need to be holistic, continuous, consistent, strategic and brand conscious. Do not treat it as a cost but as an opportunity and you will be amazed at not only the improved retention stats and quality of new Talent but also bottom line savings and revenue growth gained.


About Rob Fanshawe

Currently MD, Asia for Xpand Group, living in Singapore with his wife and dog (golden retriever), his passion in life is simple, “people”. He loves everything to do with meeting and understanding them to helping them and businesses realise their potential through the resulting positive connections.

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