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Issue #16 07/2017
latest news in the world of executive search from InterExec
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The latest issue of our newsletter which takes a special look at the news, issues and trends affecting international recruitment at senior level. We would welcome your feedback – please send any comments to
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Executive Positions Strong


InterExec continues to observe a buoyant market for senior executive recruitment, with IT positions in especially strong demand. InterExec Managing Director Gary Morgan comments:

With all the uncertainty in the market over the last year it is encouraging to see that executive positions being advised to InterExec in the first half of 2017 continue to be strong.”

He highlights growth in the sectors below as being of particular note, seeing increases of as much as 22% on the same period on 2016:

IT & Telco+22%
Oil & Gas, Energy+11%
Financial Services+3%
Building & Property+2%

The story also continues where Disciplines are concerned:

IT Discipline+51%

“With some stability returning to the market, we are confident that this upward trend will continue,” adds Gary.


Global Growth Finds Surer Footing


High valuations across most asset classes, geopolitical uncertainty and changes in monetary policy are fodder for investor angst. Yet, Morgan Stanley reports there are reasons to be optimistic.

Halfway through the year, the global economy has found surer footing, according to Morgan Stanley Research’s global economics team, which has raised its projections to 3.6% global GDP growth in 2017 and 3.7% growth in 2018, slightly higher than its outlook going into 2017.

The investment bankers say that several factors support this rosier view, including a shift toward self-sustaining growth, improving private investment and steady central bank policies. But it attributes synchronous growth as the core reason - with developed and emerging markets recovering in sync for the first time since 2010. Elga Bartsch, Co-Head of Global Economics says: “That's a key change from the past seven years, when weakness in at least one major region offset strength elsewhere and created fragility that made the global economy more sensitive to shifts in growth at the margins.”

It says trends for the second half of 2017 investors should look for include overweight U.S. and Japanese equities, and in most regions, financials and information technology; a strengthening euro relative to the dollar; re-look at emerging market debt; and be wary of credit, a common late-cycle loser.

This outlook isn't without caveats and depends in part on the current steady state of low market volatility. Morgan Stanley's forecast also assumes that growth picks up, while headline inflation stays tame.

Beyond 2017 Morgan Stanley says returns may not come as easily. If the current outlook runs its course, valuations will be ever richer for both stocks and bonds and central bank tightening may be more meaningful.

International Mobility


Business leaders still view an international mobile workforce as key to meeting their strategic objectives, according to new research by Santa Fe Relocation Services. This is despite mounting concerns around immigration and an increasingly uncertain geopolitical climate following changes implemented by the new US administration and the anticipated impact of Brexit.

Santa Fe’s seventh annual Global Mobility Survey Report ‘Embedding Business Strategy in Global Mobility’, surveyed nearly 1,000 global mobility teams and business leaders in 56 countries. It found that 35% of business leaders still believe empowering a globalised workforce is critical to meeting its strategic objectives – with 96% saying it is important.

As a result, it expects international work relocation opportunities to grow significantly over the next twelve months. And unlike in previous years, even long term assignments are expected to see significant growth (17%) in the year ahead, which highlights both ongoing global economic growth and the crucial role that long term placements have in companies’ talent planning.

However, businesses are facing increased challenges in sending workers abroad due to growing complications around stringent immigration compliance and new legislation. The findings from Santa Fe reveal 50% of global mobility professionals cite immigration complications as the top challenge to achieving businesses’ objectives over the next five years – ahead of concerns around local political climates (42%) and staff safety or security (37%).

But despite these challenges, the USA still remains the most common destination to send assignees, with 18% of respondents saying it was the most frequent destination for assignment opportunities - up from 16% in 2016. China was the second most popular at 11% (down from 12% in 2016), followed by the UK at 8% (up from 7% in 2016).

The report found that over half a million employees from the companies surveyed are already internationally mobile.

Automation Equals Revenue Growth

A new report from ServiceNow, ‘ Today’s State of Work: At the Breaking Point,’ reveals that a majority of organisations have introduced advanced automation in their workplace and nearly half of over 1850 corporate leaders surveyed in seven countries say that they’ll require it more broadly by 2018 to cope with rising work volumes.

The survey indicated that adding machines to everyday work drives revenue growth, creates new job opportunities and connects employees back to the work they want to do.

Findings in detail include:

Companies are approaching a breaking point and urgently need intelligent automation

  • By 2018, 46% of companies say they will need greater automation to handle the volume of tasks being generated. By 2020, 86% will hit that breaking point
  • 94% agree that intelligent automation could increase productivity. This includes artificial intelligence or machine learning to streamline decision making to improve the speed and accuracy of business processes
  • 54% have started using intelligent automation in one or more business processes. 87% plan to investigate or use intelligent automation moving forward

More automation delivers financial growth and promises greater productivity

  • Highly automated companies are 6 times more likely to experience revenue growth of more than 15% versus companies with low automation
  • Those companies with more than 20% revenue growth are 61% automated on average, whereas those with flat or negative growth are only 35% automated

Executives believe automation can create jobs despite employees’ fears of job losses

  • 79% of execs believe automation could lead to job creation
  • 87% of execs say employees are worried that automation will eliminate jobs

Chinese Facts

WEF has just produced a list of fascinating facts about China. They include:

  • China is building a brand new city twice the size of Manhattan 100km southwest of Beijing -it is ultimately expected to become twice the size of New York City or Singapore
  • It expects to have 200 cities with a population of over 1 million people by 2025
  • Beijing is spending $1.3 billion to convert its 70,000-car taxi fleet to electric power and in March closed its last coal-fired power station, becoming the first city in China to be coal-free for heating and electricity
  • The country is now the world’s second largest economy with a value of $11 trillion, representing 14.8% of global GDP. In terms of Purchasing Power Parity (PPP), a measure which adjusts a country’s wealth based on what people can afford to buy, China has already overtaken the United States to claim the top spot
  • China doesn’t just have unicorns. It has ‘decacorns.’ China’s tech start-up scene is brisk: the country now boasts at least 100 unicorns – private companies with a $1 billion valuation - and eight decacorns, valued at over $10 billion. The combined net worth of these 108 companies is around US$435 billion
  • It invests more each year in renewable power than any other country on earth. It’s already the world’s biggest generator of solar power, doubling its output in 2016. Cuts in fossil fuels by China and India will outweigh the impact of the US decision to pull out of the Paris climate change treaty
  • China’s online shopping frenzy is bigger than Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined. November 11, known as Singles’ Day, is a major holiday which comes with a big surge in online shopping. In 2016, $1 billion-worth of orders was placed in the first five minutes, and the total trade volume of the day was more than $17 billion
  • The country is on track to become the world’s biggest filer of patents within two years. In 2016, the number of international patent filings lodged with the World Intellectual Property Organization rose 45% to 43,000 – more than any other country except Japan or the US, which China is set to overtake if current trends continue
  • China is building a vast ‘One Belt, One Road’ initiative, creating two new trade corridors - one overland, the other by sea – to connect China with its neighbours in the west and reach a market of over 3 billion people
  • It is forecast to overtake the US as the world's dominant economic power by 2030, based on share of global GDP, trade and exports

Six Point Plan for Cyber Safety

In the light of the recent wave of cyber attacks, EY Global pinpoints six ways to help protect organisations worldwide. It warns the risk of being attacked increases exponentially when preventative measures are not taken and urges companies to take the following steps now to help protect their systems and mitigate against potential damage from emerging threats:

  1. Disconnect infected machines from the network and take all backups offline because they also could become encrypted if left connected to the network
  2. Activate incident response plans and ensure there is cross-functional representation in the investigation team, including legal, compliance, information security, business, public relations, human resources and other departments
  3. Identify and address vulnerabilities in connected ecosystems; sufficiently install security updates, malware and anti-virus detection to complicate attackers’ efforts to get back in; enhance detection and response capabilities for future attacks; and prepare for eradication events
  4. Ensure systems are patched before powering up PCs. Keep systems up to date with a robust enterprise-level patch and vulnerability management programme. This should include a formal, repeatable life cycle to manage vulnerabilities based on risks as they evolve and a comprehensive asset model that focuses on the exposure of assets to these risks
  5. Activate business continuity plans. Prepare data based on varying requirements for regulatory reporting, insurance claim and dispute, litigation, threat intelligence and/or customer notification
  6. Collect and preserve evidence in a forensically sound manner so that it is conducive to investigation and reliable and usable in civil or regulatory matters.

Insights in brief…

  • Latest figures published by Eurostat show that the euro area (EA19) seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate was 9.3% in May 2017, stable compared to April 2017 and down from 10.2% in May 2016. This is the lowest rate recorded in the euro area since March 2009. The EU28 unemployment rate was 7.8% in May 2017, stable compared to April 2017, down from 8.7% in May 2016 and the lowest rate recorded in the EU28 since December
  • A study from Robert Half and Happiness Works has evaluated the levels of employee happiness among more than 23,000 working professionals across Europe, North America and Australia. The report ‘It’s Time We All Work Happy®: The Secrets of the Happiest Companies and Employees’, shows the USA, Germany and the Netherlands have the happiest employees among the countries included in the research, ranking 71.8, 71.2 and 69.9 respectively, on a scale of 0-100, with 100 being the happiest. The countries studied with the lowest levels of employee happiness are France (63.8), Belgium (65.2) and the UK (67.2)
  • In a just-published report, JP Morgan finds that cross-border M&A continues to provide an important source of value creation for corporations around the globe, accounting for 36% of the overall market in 2016, a 5% increase from 2015. Among countries whose corporations are looking beyond their borders for growth, decision-makers in Japan are increasingly driven to explore international deals. Japan cross-border M&A has more than doubled in just over a decade, with outbound deals accounting for 51% of total M&A volume in
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