Preethi Rammohan, principal consultant in banking and financial services at Saint Blanquant & Associates, gives an insight into the work of a specialist recruiter in the banking and financial sector, where young candidates are looking to capitalise on the in influx of international institutions.
“Recruitment is like match making,” my managing director told me when I took on this role. Only now, after working as an external recruiter for almost a year, do I understand the significance of that advice. A company is similar to a family and every family has a different culture. Recruitment is not just finding a candidate with the right job experience and technical skills, they must also have the right attitude and personality to t a company’s culture. A candidate with the right technical knowledge and apt experience may not necessarily be the best t for a company, if he or she does not t into its set culture.
For some, the job of a recruiter may seem mundane and simple but it is actually quite challenging and interesting. Not many desk jobs allow you to meet different people from different sectors with different levels of skills, experience and knowledge. In your work, you build your professional network and get better insider information about companies and sectors. So, in many ways you are enhancing your market knowledge. There are times when I know well in advance of others that a company is going down or is being merged or is experiencing any form of instability.
This kind of access to information has helped me understand the employment market, especially in the banking and financial services industry. Banking and financial services jobs remain among the highest-demand jobs in the market. However, the companies within this sector have been virtually divided into two categories – the international and the local. Most candidates prefer to work for the international banks or institutes for reasons such as: exposure to international work cultures; better salary and benefits packages; opportunities to travel abroad or take foreign postings; while processes and procedures are more structured and compliant.
that most local banks are family-run businesses, meaning that processes are not fully enforced and compliant. Moreover, the decision making is highly dependent on what the head of the family business believes, and not completely based on a group of people on the board. On the plus side, I believe this type of structure allows decisions to be made more quickly than in international groups that are burdened by long procedural approvals processes that can be required to come from regional of offices. This holds the same with other financial institutions like insurance companies.
Candidates have also expressed preferences between MFIs and banks/insurance firms, with banks and insurance firms taking preference as the product offerings are both higher-value and more varied. Further, as multinational corporations have a culture of multi-tasking, where one employee handles various roles, candidates believe their learning is more advanced and diverse in such companies. And thus the pay structures and benefits are better compared to local companies. For these reasons, it is quite challenging to find the right candidate, understand better their t within the company and educate them about the benefits of the role and company, be it local or international.
One other important aspect of the employment market in Cambodia is the divide between the salaries of local talent and packages expats receive. Most of the department heads and C-level positions are filled by an expat whose salaries can be nearly double that of locals, even if hired at the same position. Some local candidates who believe they are equally talented have expressed concern at this system. I have also observed that many multinational corporations are now trying to stimulate the local employment market by filling more positions with local talent. Companies are investing in more training and assessments to develop their mid- and senior-managerial employees in order to see them take on leading roles within the company, in turn, bridging the gap between local and expat packages. Nevertheless, recruitment in financial services, and particularly the banking sector, will continue to be challenging, while also keeping me interested.
Contribution by Preethi Rammohan, Saint Blanquat & A.