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Hiring Up in Asia, But Finding Right Fit Proves Challenging

Even as the U.S. economy struggles with an 8.8 percent jobless rate, the labor market in Asia is tighter than ever.

Young businessman who walks with superior
Michael Hitoshi | Photodisc | Getty Images
Young businessman who walks with superior

Leading HR consultancy Hudson surveyed over 1,650 executives and found that a vast majority of them plan to hire more this quarter. For instance, 77 percent in China and 69 percent in Hong Kong want to grow headcount — both all time highs.

There is certainly no shortage of people, but many employers in Asia are having trouble getting the right people for the job. "There's such a small talent pool available," said Mark Carriban, managing director for Hudson in Asia.

In an interview with CNBC's Bernie Lo, Carriban said there is a lack of people with appropriate skills in those markets, notably China. There's huge demand for talent with the economy rocketing ahead, but tertiary institutions are just not training enough students with necessary skills.

"If you look at engineers for example, there's a lot of qualified engineers in China. But the way they're taught perhaps is not in practical problem solving, but perhaps theory. Then they come to the real world haven't been prepared enough." Some organizations are working closer with universities to ease that problem, but it could be a while before things get better.

With high unemployment rates Europe and the U.S., what about shipping some of them over to Asia?

"The problem of course is one of cultural simulations, sometimes it's the cost of bringing people back." Carriban said his clients are inundated with resumes from people all over the world, but the job seekers don't always have the right skill set. Together with high relocation costs, employers need to think twice before making an offer.

One particular profession feeling the crunch is sales. The survey found that companies across sectors, be it banking or even healthcare, need more sales professionals to cope with strong demands for their products or services. IT professionals are also highly sought after, because organizations now spend more on infrastructure as business picks up.

But before you go out and look for new hires, Carriban suggested companies should fix their own "leaky buckets" first.

He says firms need to look inwards and ensure their staff are given the right training, engagement and retention initiatives.

A happy staff will increase efficienct and lower reliance on external recruitment, he added.

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