There is growth in the entertainment technology markets if you know where to look. In our role partnering with companies around the world to support the recruitment of specialist roles, we have started to see a resurgence in the Asia Pacific market, and a changed landscape for both employer, and employee. Here we share some insights from our own Asia specialist, Bardy Hayes on the current state of the talent market in APAC, and how now more than ever it’s a competitive world out there.

 


 

As regular followers of Interfacio will already know, the company received a Queen’s Award for Enterprise for International Trade this year. This award which was instituted by royal warrant in 1965 rewards significant and sustained business growth in international markets. For Interfacio this was over a period of six years from 2014 to 2020 during which the delivery of recruitment and executive search services across live events, corporate AV, consumer audio and fixed installation markets continued to grow considerably in all of the company’s key international markets, including North America, Europe and APAC. The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise are recognised as the most prestigious business award given by the UK government with only 205 British organisations honoured in 2021.

 

A major part of this recent success has been in the APAC region, led by US-based Asia and Americas consultant Bardy Hayes: “Clients that see the award will realise the significant amount of business and growth we have had in markets outside the UK. For current and past clients, it will be a reminder that we are continuing to expand, or in the case of new business, it will make growing firms aware there is a successful search resource that knows both their industry and the global marketplace.”

 

Queens Award APAC

 

Bardy is a perfect example of a key Interfacio strength – consultants who have high-level, first-hand expertise and experience in the market they are addressing. From gigging musician to music store owner, to working as a sales rep, and then a national Product Manager for the JAM pro audio group in Canada, Bardy eventually moved to take on Asian and Latin American export sales, based out of San Diego. He was drawn into Interfacio through his long-standing relationship with Interfacio Founder and Co-Director Richard Wear, and his experience, expertise, and knowledge of the Americas and Asia-Pacific regions.

Region Specific

Bardy notes that one major change over the years has been the recruiting patterns for Chinese and Southeast Asian companies. “15 years ago, the highly qualified candidate base was not very well developed. Now that has changed and more often manufacturers want local talent who can speak the local dialects and grew up in the local culture. It’s much less important now to recruit from the US and Europe. Most of my clients for China, for example, are multinationals recruiting inside China.”

Given this, the fact that Bardy is resident in the US and has had consistent success recruiting into those regions, is all-the-more impressive. “There are lots of recruiters in China, of course,” he says. “But it’s difficult to find people that truly understand the particular industry and the difference between selling, say, a live production console vs. a recording console, architectural lighting vs. stage lighting, or sound reinforcement for church vs. for touring. Knowing our industry and having the experience of working across many different areas of our industry – and even understanding crossover into corporate AV and so on, is a significant advantage I believe.

“And of course, having spent so much time in Asia I have many contacts and have grown in my understanding of the market. Local business culture and the different perspective to relationships. Many people know that relationships are important Asia, but can have a limited concept of how it affects company networks, and who will be hired by whom.”

The Leading Edge

Bardy believes that the Chinese market is currently one of the strongest, and one of the first to emerge with growth from the Covid pandemic. This is corroborated by a resurgence of recruitment activity: “Currently senor sales management roles are the area where expansion and investment seems to be happening. After that, I expect to see increased demand for experienced technical people for support, training and business development roles.”

What does this mean for potential candidates? What are key attributes for anybody currently looking for a role? “No matter the field,” Bardy responds. “Getting Avixa CTS and even brand certifications are great indications of not only technical understanding but show motivation to continue to learn and grow in the industry. The other thing is advanced English skills for non-native English speakers: Practice, practice, practice – Listening to English language media helps, but verbal interaction with native English speakers will make a much bigger impact in how you are perceived by potential employers. Nuanced English speaking skills are a primary differentiator for any candidate wanting a role within a multinational.”

No more Bargains

For companies looking to recruit the brightest and best, now and into the future, Bardy observes that competition and quality have changed the marketplace: “There are very few talent bargains anymore. With the growth of our market segments and many brands opening local China or APAC offices, executive role titles and the accompanying salary packages have continued to grow. With increasingly few exceptions, the expectation from strong talent is increasingly approaching EU or even US levels.

One of the magic ingredients that make Interfacio as a whole so special, Bardy says is clear: “Our main advantage is that we are industry people. All consultants in Interfacio know the industry well extending their successful industry careers.

“Our other strength might be the relationships we forge and the balance we find between doing the best job for both client and candidate. When you’ve sold a mixing console (for example) and it’s on its way out of the door, it never says ‘Actually, I’m not sure I want to be sold – maybe you could have got a better price or I need to talk to my family.’ Our challenge is that there are often two “customers”, and sometimes the candidate is the one with the power. We have to be able to sell on both sides, and that’s quite a specialist skill.”

If you would like to speak with Bardy about growing your team in APAC or to find out more about opportunities in the region, you can get in touch with him using the info below or you can use the contact forms on the site to get in touch.

Bardy Hayes, Consultant
AMERICAS & APAC
t. +44 20 8986 5002
c. +1 858-231-3648
e. [email protected]
li. linkedin.com/bardy-hayes