War for Talent

The term "war for talent" could be used to describe the current job market in Cambodia. There is a battle taking place for the best people that the country has to offer. Even the largest companies with the biggest budgets and attractive list of benefits are struggling to find and retain quality staff.

Cambodia has one of the fastest growing economies in the world over the last decade. With that growth, the demand for quality, experienced employees has increased significantly.

Growth in both the economy and employment

In Cambodia between 2011 and 2014, the number of people employed rose by a staggering 23.5%. In the same period, employment in construction rose by around 40%, finance and insurance employment rose approximately 38% (National Employment Agency, 2015). These are amazing growth rates considering most of the world is still struggling for any growth at all. 

With that sort of growth in employment, you can expect shortages of talent at all levels. If you also factor in the challenges of an education system producing graduates that are not perceived as being "ready for work", the issue becomes even greater.

Impact of localisation

Adding to the talent shortage for senior level positions, there is also the trend of localising many senior positions. This has resulted in many experienced expats leaving the country, leaving a hole in the market, as there is not enough senior local talent to fill these roles. There are many talented locals capable of filling these roles, though not enough to meet growing demand. Companies entering the market are seeking local employees to fill roles previously filled by expats, and are frustrated by the lack of local senior talent. With the forces of supply and demand in a growing market, the challenge to find good people has never been more difficult.

Impact on business performance

The same NEA study revealed that the skills gaps and inability to recruit qualified people was impacting business performance. 

  • 61% reported delay in development of new products and services
  • 48.4 % reported losing business or orders to competitors
  • 43.4% reported difficulty meeting customer service levels
  • 34.1% reported increased workload for current staff
  • 29.4% reported difficulty meeting quality standards

Impact on salaries

The pressure of supply and demand will also result in growth of salary expectations for skilled people. I have had the discussion with some employers recently that "Just when I think we have our salary bands right, the market changes". This particularly becomes relevant in your retention strategies. If you are not regularly reviewing your salary structures, you can find that you are losing people to higher paid roles.

People strategy is key

An organisation is only as good as the quality of the employees. With talent becoming increasingly difficult to attract, every organisation should be developing their people strategies including recruitment, engagement, retention, training, compensation and benefits and succession planning. These activities should be considered just as important as any other part of the strategic plan. Human resource departments must become more strategic, more creative and more competitive in the way they attract, develop and retain their people.
HRINC Recruitment has spent 10 years developing a network and database of industry professionals. HRINC is the largest and longest running HR service provider in Cambodia. If you require assistance with you strategic planning, training or recruitment, HRINC can help.

Adrian LOW is a Managing Partner with HRINC Cambodia and Myanmar. Adrian has more than 20 years in Management, Marketing and Consulting positions in Human Resources, Recruitment and Training industries in Australia and South East Asia.