Caroline Law, who recently joined as Partner of the Technology Practice, gives her views on the launch of Morgan McKinley’s executive search recruitment brand in Singapore.
Firstly Caroline, tell us a little about yourself and career so far?
I am from Melbourne, Australia where I started out as a lawyer before moving to Tokyo and starting my career in recruitment. I have now spent the past 15 years in the industry based across Tokyo, Hong Kong and now Singapore.
I have enjoyed the privilege of recruiting senior leadership talent for some of the world’s largest companies across different sectors, as well as growing specialist recruiting teams of up to 50 consultants.
I joined Morgan McKinley Executive this year to build up the Technology Practice. Each day brings the opportunity to meet new and inspiring leaders and keep my finger on the pulse of digital trends. I am humbled to be trusted as an advisor and help people make one of the most important decisions they will make in life.
Why did you join Morgan McKinley Executive Search?
Since setting up in Singapore 17 years ago, Morgan McKinley has built an exceptional reputation amongst its clients as a contingency search firm. However, with Technology fast evolving and disrupting all industries, there is a clear need for an executive search business to address the high demand for transformative leaders in the region who can build a tech strategy that achieves business goals.
Singapore remains the preferred location for most companies’ Asia headquarters within the fastest growing, dynamic regions in the world. It is also transforming into a global e-commerce hub and has one of the fastest growing start-up communities in the world. Hence, large companies with a mission to innovate are competing fiercely with start-up disruptors for the same leadership talent.
Hiring the right tech leader is critical to an organisation’s ability to innovate and take advantage of new opportunities. I love the challenge involved with finding the best leadership talent that will help my clients to transform.
Congrats on launching the new brand, can you tell us exactly what Morgan McKinley Executive Search does?
Thanks! We have set up Morgan McKinley Executive Search to provide flexible, cost effective and delivery focused solutions to enable our clients to find and secure the best senior leadership talent for their business.
We aren't just another search firm set up to do what already exists in the market. We know we need to provide something different and better than what’s out there.
This is why we offer tailored and agile solutions, not only to fill specific positions, but also to give our clients the information, data and evidence they need to make smart and informed decisions as they plot the right course forward for their business.
Why has the Morgan McKinley group decided to launch an executive search brand?
Well, the primary reason is that a significant number of our clients were telling us, either directly or indirectly, that they were looking for a different range of services than a standard recruitment supplier, but weren’t convinced that using expensive search firms was providing value for money.
Particularly since COVID-19 has impacted almost every business, our clients were telling us they required more from recruitment partners, while at the same time their hiring budgets were smaller. They really needed to justify external spend and get value from it.
When your clients are telling you what they need, it is usually a good idea to listen!
The message that we were repeatedly getting was that they were able to close an increasing number of "easy to fill" roles themselves, either through their own access to candidates from LinkedIn, or through hiring their own Talent Acquisition teams.
However, when it came to finding the best leadership talent, succession planning, or getting useful data about the market landscape, they still needed outside expertise. But they hadn't yet found a partner that truly delivered for them, or they felt offered value for money.
This is exactly where Morgan McKinley Executive Search can help:
- We have a track record of delivering consistently excellent results, with speedy turnaround times, genuinely insightful market information, whilst remaining highly flexible and competitively priced.
- We have no concerns with taking on difficult searches or helping clients who are struggling to understand why their hiring plan is not working, and pride ourselves on finding solutions where others have failed.
So, with Morgan McKinley having already successfully set up the Executive search brand in Ireland early in 2019, and a number of clients finding their service effective at delivering the solutions they needed, now feels like the right time to expand this into our Asian markets.
How is it different to what the Morgan McKinley business delivers?
Fundamentally we provide a different model and service to the established Morgan McKinley brand, which is based on the typical “contingent” recruitment model where payment is only made after successfully filling a role.
Morgan McKinley Executive Search is set up with an experienced and dedicated research function, focused on deep diving into very specific markets and disciplines, understanding the competitor landscape, building data and information, and accessing talent that is not visible through the usual channels.
It takes time and commitment to do this, as well as experience and expertise in the relevant techniques and methods. This enables us to offer a wide range of solutions to solve longer term challenges.
These solutions can be customised to suit the needs of each particular request on a case-by-case basis, which could mean producing a market map, understanding competitor structures or compensation, identifying up and coming talent for long term planning, or whatever it is that the client needs to help their business planning and decision making.
Everyone knows the recruitment market has taken a significant hit from the effects of COVID-19, so why are you launching this right now?
There is no doubt that market conditions are extremely tough right now, and every firm out there is looking carefully at the costs associated with hiring. So, from this perspective, launching a new brand at this time looks like a bold move!
However, most firms that we have spoken to are also evaluating their business structures and models, their change and transformation plans, technology platforms, value chains etc. and assessing whether they are set up correctly to survive through COVID-19, and then thrive after it has passed.
It then follows that they will be looking at their leadership teams and considering if they have the right people to lead them through those changes, or if they need to look outside and see if they can bring better, more appropriate people in to drive them towards their new future.
This is where we can provide the data and information to support planning and decision making, with access to the talent they need right now, or helping build a sustainable plan for them to access this talent in the future.
We already intended to launch this brand, but the changes brought on by COVID-19 have accelerated our plans because we think it can help provide solutions to the challenges our clients are facing.
So, rather than launching our Morgan McKinley Executive Search brand in Singapore despite COVID, we are launching it because of it, and because we think it can be a key part of our business as we look ahead to the next 5+ years.
What is the message you are taking out to Senior Leaders about the ways Morgan McKinley Executive Search can add value to their hiring?
I think my main message would be that whatever the challenges you face related to hiring the right leadership talent for your business, or understanding your market and competitor landscape, we can come up with something to support it, to give you better information, help you make informed decisions, and we can tailor our solutions and pricing accordingly to suit your needs.
Even if you aren't sure you need to hire, but you just want to get a picture of the market, then let's talk, because we can find a solution that will bring genuine value to both your short and long-term planning.
What are the plans for the business?
We are further strengthening our networks, and ensuring that we deliver over and above expectations for the clients we are already working with.
We will then look to grow slowly through the addition of experienced and talented people that share our vision of delivering exceptional work for a select group of clients. It is a tough time for everyone right now and so our plan will be to build a reputation for delivery from the ground up, project by project, never compromising on our commitment to deliver beyond expectations.