APAC Leadership Insights

APAC Leadership Insights
We’re delighted to be giving a snapshot of what’s happening in our offices around the Asia-Pacific region. You will see that the content varies – from a discussion about talent returning to one country (something on all our minds these days) to a comparison of our business with that of advertised recruitment companies.
If you have any questions on the contents, please contact the author directly in the country that interests you. If it’s something more general, you are welcome to contact me. All of our emails can be found on the relevant country page at www.hortoninternational.com.
We hope that you enjoy this regional update.
With best wishes for your business success,
Gary Woollacott, Regional Director Asia Pacific

Hiring competitors’ candidates at the same salary breeds mediocrity.
To attract top talent, offer growth, challenges, and meaningful opportunities.
Managing Director

Over the past two decades, Horton International Thailand has proudly undertaken hundreds of assignments.
We have engaged with tens of thousands of candidates, assessing around 20,000 CVs to identify the most promising talent.
We’ve shortlisted thousands, enabling us to facilitate over 4,000 interviews.
It is with great pride that we’ve successfully placed approximately 800 exceptional individuals in their desired roles.
This is the essence of what we do—to diligently and effectively complete each and every job, ensuring the right fit for both our clients and candidates.
As we celebrate our 20th anniversary this year, we thank all those who have been part of our journey, and we look forward to many more years of success at Horton Thailand.
Horton Philippines and our Strong Ties to the Dynamic Outsourcing Sector
The outsourcing sector, or BPO (Business Process Outsourcing), has emerged as a key driver of economic growth in the Philippines. It has contributed significantly to the country’s gross domestic product, foreign exchange earnings, and employment opportunities.
The country has long been a significant outsourcing partner for Fortune 500 Companies in North America and Europe (and more recently Australia), enhancing productivity, cost-effectiveness, adaption to evolving market demands and customer expectations, and promoting global workforce collaboration.
Over the years, the BPO sector has evolved and expanded, embracing a diverse range of complex work across various industries. The sector has also become more sophisticated, offering specialized services and leveraging advanced technologies. From its early beginnings in voice-based customer support to complex finance, IT and software development, creative and digital services, engineering and architecture, complex data analysis, and more.
Digital transformation, increasing globalization, and even the COVID pandemic has only attracted more BPO contracts to the Philippines. With the increased growth comes the heightened competition for talent. Like most hyper-growth sectors, the demand for experienced leaders has led to intense competition among organizations – especially for executives who have the experience in managing diverse teams, understanding cross-cultural dynamics, and driving global expansion strategies.
Horton Philippines own history and growth is very closely linked to the BPO sector. Our early years coincided with the sector’s own pioneering years, which has given us a great opportunity to learn and participate in its development. Some of our firm’s early key success stories have, in fact, been helping notable pioneering companies in the BPO sector to build and scale its operations in the Philippines. The experience of working on some of the earliest start-up projects for the outsourcing industry has given us the track record and expertise that continues to be relevant today as the sector sets record growth and global leadership.
Director and Vice President for Business Services

Vietnam’s tech industry thrives with Cloud computing, IoT, AI, and Blockchain trends. Despite challenges, its growth potential remains strong, making it a global tech hub. Notable players like Viettel, FPT, Netflix, Boeing, and VNPT contribute to its advancement.
An update from Horton International Laos
Laos has been going through a transformational change over the last two decades, with a significant increase in foreign owned investment. As such, it has become a key hub for Energy, Mining and Manufacturing in the ASEAN region.
In the late 1970s large migrations of Lao people settled in the Americas, Europe and Australia. Currently, there is a major focus on capacity building to enhance the labour market within Laos. Over the past ten years or so, a number of international scholarship programs are leading the way to give Lao nationals an international education – to bring them back to benefit businesses. Moreover, a growing trend that international businesses in Laos are seeing, is that some of the Lao diaspora who have grown up outside Laos are looking to return.
There are many reasons, just a few are: ageing family members; wanting to be better connected to extended family; and better work life balance. These returning workers bring myriad benefits to the Lao economy, such as international education, diverse work experience and bilingual fluency. In this VUCA business world it is imperative that businesses are agile to the changing needs of clients and the surrounding markets. This largely untapped resource of candidates will give a distinct edge to businesses in Laos to be more competitive within the surrounding markets.
Connect with Cara McCartney

I sat across the table from many an exec recruitment business development person during my twenty or so years in HR Director roles.
These days I try to put myself in the shoes of the client HR Directors/CPOs/CEOs with whom I engage as an executive search provider, and ask myself the question that they must (or should) be asking themselves:
‘What can this provider do for us that we cannot do at least as efficiently and effectively ourselves’?
When I tell people I’m in executive search in China, their immediate response is often, ‘It must be a huge market.’ Unfortunately, that’s not entirely true.
While China experiences a significant amount of talent movement, it’s an exceedingly challenging market for executive search consultants. In most global executive firms, including Horton, the Chinese office is roughly the same size as or slightly larger than its Hong Kong office. This is 1.41B populations (2021) vs 7.4M. Why?
Unfortunately, many top HR professionals in China fail to recognize the value of retained and exclusive searches. The most common question I encounter is, ‘In a market as vast as this, wouldn’t it be more beneficial to engage multiple parties for candidate outreach? Exclusivity seems counterintuitive.’
What’s the issue? I can think of two, among others.
Are consultants actively approaching candidates on your behalf? You may have sent your job description to various consultants, expecting them to reach out to potential candidates. Depending on the position’s specifications and perceived ease of filling it, you might not receive much attention from these consultants. Contingency consultants don’t hesitate to take on mandates (it’s hard to turn down a ‘free’ CV). However, have you considered how much time these consultants will devote to your search when they have over 30 others ongoing? Unless your case is a guaranteed ‘easy sell,’ you won’t be their top priority.
Can they genuinely attract candidates? Assuming your position isn’t a straightforward hire, convincing candidates requires a compelling narrative. If you (especially as the hiring manager) haven’t engaged with the consultants (given the sheer number of them), what makes you think they can represent you effectively? Quality consultants can bring qualified candidates to the table, but only if they truly understand your firm’s key competitive advantages and your leadership’s significance.
These are the primary reasons why firms like ours insist on exclusivity. It’s not about making more money; it’s about doing our job properly and ensuring you achieve the desired results!
What is the difference between executive search
and advertised recruitment?
Some potential clients ask why our executive search fees are higher than recruitment firms, this infographic explains why.
It goes on to elucidate why executive search may be the best – perhaps the only – option when selecting people for crucial roles.
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