2018 talent acquisition trends for SMEs in Asia

2018 talent acquisition trends for SMEs in AsiaOrganisations today are witnessing an acceleration in conducting their businesses and the search for talent has never been so intense. This is particularly true for the small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) when competing on salary and benefits alone simply isn’t an option for them.

In addition, with the increased usage of advanced technologies and the evolving dynamics around the nature of work, we are gradually moving away from conventional workflow to modern automated applications.

Here, we have identified 3 of the predominant talent acquisition trends and discussed the challenges that SMEs need to prepare to harness the power of their people in the year 2018.


Trend 1: Globalisation

SME’s typical symptom is thinking and acting local. This also applies to their talent acquisition strategy as recruiting globally can be rather intimidating for some due to the language and cultural differences. However, with globalisation blurring the regional lines, having an outward approach in acquiring talent beyond your borders may just be the best decisions you can ever make for your small business. The potential benefits are aplenty; ranging from larger talent base consisting of multiple language and backgrounds to an access to professional yet affordable skilled labour.

The challenge is to achieve a balanced, diversified workforce (read Workplace diversity in Asia and why it’s important) that is multicultural and multitalented in every aspect. Diversity in the workforce can be difficult to grasp at first however, SMEs can be far more agile and flexible in this sense compared to larger companies as they would have lesser red-tape to navigate. SMEs are also easier to manage given its smaller scale and do not require so much convincing compared to multi-level managements, therefore HR professionals can easily explore the option of diversifying the workforce and develop ways that can work best for their organisations.


Trend 2: Artificial intelligence (AI)

If you think that you can continue recruiting without employing technological advances such as AI, think again. Integrating AI into talent acquisition with HR analytics will soon no longer be optional as we leap into 2018 and beyond. SMEs should not be fearful and work towards finding the right balance in utilising technology as a means to remain competitive. New AI-powered recruiting methods will not only automate manual administrative tasks but save time where you no longer have to manually screen for a candidate.

The challenge however, is to find time and collate the massive amounts of data from resumes, skill assessments and employment history forms for AI to harness these information. HR professionals must create (and update) datasets that record all the important details such as candidates’ preferred job, skillsets, location, work history and date of availability. The goal is to get AI to analyse the data and automatically identify the most ideal candidate for the job.


Trend 3: Contingent workforce

2018 will see an increase in the demand for contingent workers, commonly known as freelancers, due to the shift in work patterns. Historically, businesses tend to rely on contingent workers only during tough economic times. However, with the change of lifestyles and work demands, you’ll find contingent workers not just as your regular Uber drivers but also as highly skilled specialists or consultants that operate across almost every industry you can identify.

Contingent workers are important for SMEs as it can reduce costs and fill skill gaps. In addition, hiring contingent workers allow their businesses to be more agile and can immediately address any challenges that they may be facing. The challenge lies in identifying the type of contingent worker that your organisation may require. One of the best methods is to have regular conversations with your current employees and identify the internal skills gaps, why you may need to hire contingent workers and what you would like them to achieve.

For SMEs, competing in the war of talent takes more effort than traditional recruiting methods and involves a broader scope of talent acquisition. It is imperative for HR professionals in SMEs to understand these trends that will shape the way businesses recruit and arm themselves with the knowledge required to face the challenges of 2018.


Photo by Yolanda Sun on Unsplash

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