Talent market update: Asia Pacific

27 September 2019

Simon King provides an overview of 3Q19 igaming recruitment trends in the region where China’s anti-gambling policy is pushing up the cost of experienced talent

China’s clear anti-gambling overtones have placed added pressure on igaming markets across the Asia Pacific region over recent months.

In an already complex and regulatory environment, this has further increased the value of experienced talent – those able to find opportunities in even hostile market conditions.

Quick-fixes are often sought, but unfortunately this has led to short-termist – and largely ineffective – approaches to talent acquisition.

Hiring timeframes tend to be compressed, salaries often come in significantly lower than candidates’ expectations and lowball offers regularly derail processes. The result, sadly, is often under-performance and high staff turnover.

Key challenges to recruitment in Asia Pacific’s gaming market centre around lack of supply, which has pushed up salary expectations and made it more difficult to find top talent.

Senior executives regularly expect in excess of $100,000, with managers looking for $50,000+.

Whilst less experienced candidates come in cheaper, even those with 2+ years’ igaming experience, particularly any specialist territory knowledge, can expect their value to increase dramatically.

Employers have been slow to come to terms with these market conditions.

The industry would do well to broader their talent acquisition search to accept applications from those out of sector.

Whilst knowledge of igaming is highly prized, it is often transferrable skills like territory knowledge, online product management, affiliate programmes and relationship building which will bring most value.

Q3 Asia Pacific hiring trends
The highest demand for talent is in B2B, with experienced sales and account managers often the number one hiring priority for many employers.
• In B2C, the priority is affiliate and acquisition management – with candidates perceived as potentially providing access to new geographic markets or segments being most in demand
• Language skills and knowledge of key territories such as those in South East Asia are highly prized, but clients would do well to see these hires as ‘long term’ rather than a ‘quick-fix’ way to access new customers.
• Significant regulatory shifts in the Philippine market will certainly affect the local talent market – limiting new opportunities as the licence restrictions come in – but could increase the supply of talent overall.
• As with the gaming market itself, the talent market is in a continual state of change, but the value of candidates – particularly their network – remains consistently high.

Simon King is head of Asia Pacific for the industry's largest executive search and recruitment agency Pentasia. He is based in Singapore.