Finance Sector skills in demand the world over!

Finance - Feb14Our regular readers will know that law firms have been increasingly looking for specific sector experience in their BD people over the last 12-18 months. And that this is in line with where the UK market has been for some time, with some firms in Asia structuring this way too.

At the moment, out of all possible sector experience, Financial Services is the area most in demand. If you’re a BDM or Senior BDM with law or accounting/advisory firm experience who has previously supported Financial Services Partners, the world is very much your oyster.


With our alliance partner, we are working on the below two roles in London with our alliance partner and there is a shortage of this skill set on the ground.

Client Relationship Manager – This firm will provide a visa and full relocation package from anywhere in the world.

Business Development Manager – Financial Markets – This firm will provide a relocation package and is interested in British returners or those with pre-existing working rights.

There are also 2 Senior BDM roles about to come to market in London also requiring Finance sector experience.

London has for some months been a harder market to break into from overseas, but if you have Finance sector experience, the door is open.

Hong Kong:

We are working with a magic circle firm seeking a talented BD with this sector experience, with visa and relocation on offer.

Business Development, Regional Manager – Finance – this firm has some flexibility on level to secure the right person.


We have had discreet enquiries from a couple of different firms who are keen to acquire Financial Services BD specialists looking for opportunities later in the year. These positions are likely to be opportunity lead and have the potential to be placed before advertised and so make sure you’re in touch if this is your specialism.

In a market where it’s a good idea for candidates to play to their strengths, this sector experience can open doors for you around the world.

Get in touch with us if you’d like to enquire about these opportunities.

Australia Focus

AUS - Jan14With the Australia Day long weekend now behind us, most of our Australian clients and candidates now feel like they have come back to work fully for 2014. With most Partners and Principals now returned too, we all seem to be looking forward into the year with increased motivation and focus.

So what’s happening in the Australian market so far in 2014?

  • BD Executives have a lot of opportunity they can consider across Australia and we’re recruiting at this level for law firms in Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne and Perth.
  • At the same time, firms looking to hire at the BDE level will find that these candidates are being well retained. We have experienced less candidates than usual for this time of year coming to us thinking about a career move for early 2014.
  • We are starting to see some BD Manager/Senior BD Manager positions being developed and coming back to market in Sydney and Melbourne.
  • The competitive market and talent shortage at this Manager level is leading to more interest in engaging us in retained search assignments.
  • Whilst law firms and advisory firms are speaking with us confidently about the next 12 months, there is still reduced activity from 12-18 months ago in the engineering and accounting sectors for BD/marketing candidates.

We are looking forward to another busy and successful 6 months in Australia.

For more information on our current campaigns, CLICK HERE.

BD & Marketing Careers in Asia set to Gallop in 2014

2014 - HORSEHaving just spent a week in Hong Kong, meeting clients across the professions, it is fair to say that the heat is coming back into the market; especially for newly created roles in China.  A buoyancy has definitely returned and as Heads of BD & Marketing start the process of setting their budgets for the 2014/2015 financial year, most are expecting an increase in headcount and the creation of new positions.

There are several key reasons why professional services firms are busier and feeling optimistic. Corporate M&A activity is increasing; there is a marked increase in China based organisations restructuring (leading to more consulting work); and property development and infrastructure investment is on the rise, leading to an influx of work to design and engineering firms.  Add to this the continued boom for services in S.E. Asia and it’s easy to see why BD&M departments are starting to feel stretched again.

As marketing and BD becomes more sophisticated and respected in the region, and, as competition for work intensifies, there is also a desire for firms to invest in areas such as client relationship management and account management (to maintain and retain clients), branding and thought-leadership (to attract clients and start a dialogue) and pursuits and proposals specialists (to strategically position firms to win certain work – namely large regional based clients with major projects).

In one week we were briefed on positions in all of the above areas across the region, specifically in Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai and Singapore.

Whilst Chinese language skills are sought after for client focused account management roles, they are not crucial for roles such as pursuits, branding and generalist marketing.  What is in demand is a knowledge of certain sectors (like energy, mining and resources, healthcare and pharmaceutical), professional services experience and / or client facing experience.

With the Australian dollar in decline, a move to Asia is now even more of a financial incentive than in previous years, and with roles outstripping supply, good candidates often have a few choices of which firms to join and which location they can be based in.

As China celebrates the Year of the Horse this week, make sure you have fully considered how your career could fare in the Asia market.  Back yourself today and tomorrow you could be a winner!

For a confidential discussion on the market and how likely it would be for you to move your career to Asia, contact Graham or Katie.

What’s the difference between a career and a job?

career planning - Jan14At Seldon Gill we wear many hats and one of those is career counsellor. One of the topics we regularly advise on is the difference between choosing a strategic career development opportunity and a good job that ticks all the boxes of things you like doing. Of course, these two things don’t need to be mutually exclusive and it’s great to get both, but it is important to consider the impact any particular move will make to your longer term career goals.

So if you’ve come back to work in 2014 wanting a change, make sure you consider where you want to be in 5-10 years and how a role you’re considering will help get you there. If feeling stagnant or frustrated in your current role it can be tempting to look for something totally different, but a complete career shakeup is not always a good idea when considering your long term goals. 

For a focus on career development, keep the following top of mind:

What direction is the industry going in and what skills are in demand?

Currently we are seeing Sector/Industry aligned BD increasingly becoming the focus across professional services in the Asia-Pacific (in line with what already is pretty ingrained in the UK).  These skills are in demand and employers are finding it challenging to find people with this experience. When thinking about a career path it’s often smart to specialise in what’s in demand.

Where is the demand?

There is no doubt that Asia, particularly Hong Kong and Singapore is awash with great career defining opportunities.  90% of our clients are keen to see resumes of candidates with 3-10 years experience in professional services BD & Marketing and candidates with Asia based experience will be competitively positioned in the future as the market continues to develop truly international strategies and seek experience in this area.  Also in terms of true business development and market growth, Asia is the World’s fastest growing market.  Put simply, anyone with ambition should be here.

What role are you eventually aiming for?

If you’re a Coordinator now but have your sights set on Director, find out what experience you will need as this will help define your career path. For example, you’ll need to work with a variety of different practice groups across the firm, pick up team management experience along the way and also regional and international experience are increasingly sought for these roles. You’ll also want to make choices which allow for appropriate longevity with each employer.

What do you enjoy?

Of course, this is of huge importance. But it needs to be balanced with a realistic understanding of what employers want in this market – and what they will invest in. For example it’s a more competitive market with increased tender demand and activity than a few years ago, and so most professional services marketers have pursuits as a key part of their role in some respect. A want to move completely away from pursuits at a point in time where the skill set is even more in demand than usual could be said to be counter intuitive. 

Even if you are an events or communications specialist there are opportunities to cross over into more generalist BD or marketing roles.  Some clients count enthusiasm, commercial acumen and industry knowledge as important as “on-point experience”.

So if you’re thinking 2014 will be a year of career transition, make sure you look at opportunities with all the context of your future career path in mind. And if you enquire about a role Seldon Gill is recruiting then we can discuss and advise you on this.

South East Asia – abundant with opportunity

Travel SING - Jan14The SEA region looks set to continue to grow in global significance for professional services firms in 2014.  Over the past 12 months we were briefed on as many roles in SEA as we were in North Asia and we have enjoyed great success placing in this region.  Whilst we are regularly briefed on roles in smaller centres such as Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta and Bangkok – as these locations slowly open up further to international firms, Singapore continues to be the hub of the region and where most of the opportunity for BD professionals exists.  Over the past 12 months, Seldon Gill has placed BD Executive, Manager and Senior Manager/Head of roles in Singapore at UK, US and Australian law firms. Whilst law firms have been most prevalent with hiring, we have seen some opportunity in the accounting sector as well.

Looking at the active roles we are already recruiting in 2014, Singapore looks set to be a key location in the Asia-Pacific this year too. The competition for talent is likely to be fierce. Whilst many firms will aim to hire those with pre-existing knowledge of the region and already on the ground, many firms will certainly be looking internationally to tempt talent to the region.  A good indicator of who is being hired by firms is our data from our 2013 placements: last year 50% of candidates placed in Asia were already working in the region and 50% relocated to Asia for the role.  So with this in mind, we’ve put together 4 reasons to stay in / move to Singapore for your next role:

  • It is the hub for BD into some of the fastest developing commercial centres in the world – a great place to be at the forefront of competitive BD and to become a specialist in a growing region.
  • Of all Asia locations, it is widely thought to be an easy place for ex-pats to settle and live long term in a city where East easily fuses with West.  It’s clean, efficient, safe, evolving and dynamic.
  • Whether for business or leisure, living in Singapore means easy and regular travel to see different places throughout SEA and broader Asia.
  • As opportunity in Singapore continues to increase, if you’re a BDE/BDM, your skills are in demand and there are lots of quality career opportunities to consider.

Below is a brief look at the current opportunities we are recruiting in Singapore.  If you are not on the market yourself, but know people who could be interested, then please do forward this update on to them.  All of these roles are regional and we can provide more information to you or your contacts on request.

International candidates requiring relocation will be considered:

For candidates with existing knowledge of the region on the ground:

Happy New Year – and what does 2014 have in store?

2014 - Whats in storeWe would like to wish all our clients and candidates a very Happy New Year! We hope you had a lovely and relaxing Christmas.  Of course, for those of you based in Asia, we will get to say this twice with Chinese New Year fast approaching!

We are all now back on deck at Seldon Gill and starting to reconnect with everyone; picking up some recruitment campaigns running over from 2013 and also starting some exciting new campaigns. See below for more information about what’s hot!

But what does the first part of 2014 have in store for Seldon Gill?

Australia: As our clients gradually return from the Christmas break, we are connecting with them to discuss recruitment plans for 2014. It’s always a slower start to recruitment in Australia and so we are also focusing on speaking to candidates who have decided over the break that 2014 will see a career move for them; focusing on helping with career planning. That being said, the roles mentioned below are very much active already.

Asia: We are delighted that we will be sponsoring the HK APSMA conference again for the second year running. It was a sell out last year and both Graham Seldon and Katie Rosser will attend this year. Make sure you’re on APSMA’s distribution list as the invite will come from them. This will be in early May.

Graham Seldon will also be in HK for a couple of days in January meeting with our clients. For our candidates this means that we will have our fingers very much on the pulse of what career opportunities will be coming up over the next few months.

Active Opportunities:

The below roles are all a priority for Seldon Gill over the next couple of weeks. And so if they are of interest then please do get in touch.


Business Development Adviser


Business Development Manager, Corporate & Tax


Business Development & Marketing Executive


Business Development Manager

Business Development, Senior Coordinator / Junior Manager

Senior BD Manager / Bid Manager


Senior Business Development Manager – North Asia

These Asia based roles can be considered by international candidates not yet currently working in Asia and so if you’re UK, Australia, NZ, Europe or Middle East based but interested in this sort of move then get in touch!

We look forward to working with you and to what 2014 has in store!

2013 – The year that was!

2013 - Dec13As another year draws to a close, at Seldon Gill we have been reflecting on our successes of 2013.  It’s always an interesting project to pull together statistics of our placements as they are a really good indication of what’s been happening in the market.  We have shared some of the most interesting points for you below.

  • A third of our placements this year were International, outside of Australia.  Of these, the majority were in Asia, though we also placed people into London and Auckland.  As always, our placements throughout the Asia-Pacific were all direct, with our London placements reflecting our alliance working well!
  • Of the people we placed into roles in Australia, 24% relocated to Australia – either for the position, or shortly before securing the position.  This reflects the talent shortage we’ve seen particularly at the BDM and BDE level in Australia, as well as a strong interest in acquiring regional and global sector experience in BD candidates, even if this means importing these skills from overseas.  This is also a reflection of our success in sourcing talent relocating or returning to the region.
  • In Asia, 70% of the people we placed relocated for the role; 10% relocated within the Asia region and 60% relocated from outside Asia.  Whilst the starting point for many firms looking to hire in Asia is often to secure candidates who already have Asia experience, this demonstrates that growth within the region means that firms are still having to look outside Asia for talent.  Also, whilst we have also placed candidates from the UK, there has been an increase in the number of Australia based candidates who have gained attractive experience to bring to Asia through managing Asia-Pacific roles.
  • Across the region the emphasis has been on BD, with 80% of roles we placed having this focus.  Given the increased competition in the region, team sizes and the need for support people to positively affect revenue, then this will be no surprise.
  • Almost 60% of the roles we placed in Australia were retained search campaigns and/or exclusive campaigns.  This is a reflection of our clients’ trust in us to deliver solutions, for which we thank you all.  As well as the type of campaign that works best to uncover talent in a competitive market.  We have also worked exclusively with some of our clients in Asia this year.
  • The biggest need across the region has been for BD Managers / Senior Managers, making up 80% of our placements in Asia and almost 60% in Australia.

It’s been a really good year for us outside of our placement success at Seldon Gill too.  Katie Rosser has taken up a Director role in the business as well as been and returned from a period of maternity leave.  Graham Seldon has enjoyed working even more closely with all our clients and candidates during this period when Katie was away.

And both of us have been balancing our commercial enterprises by giving back to the charity sector – Graham bring made Chair of the Board for Wear for Success and Dress for Success Melbourne; and Katie establishing a women’s networking group (Y.E.S! Sydney) raising funds for Dress for Success.  Like the rest of you, we are also taking the break and line in the sand that a New Year provides to consider our ambitions and drivers for 2014, as a business and individually.

We wish all our clients and candidates a Merry Christmas and look forward to connecting again in 2014!

Are you Dreaming of a White Christmas?

Snow In London - Dec13

Have you always dreamed of spending time living in London – one of the most vibrant cities in the world?  Or, are you from the UK working overseas but thinking that it might be time to return home and be closer to friends and family?

Well if you’re a Client Relationship Manager or BD Manager with client development skills then it may be time to make it happen! 

One of the world’s most successful legal brands is currently looking for a Client Relationship Manager to join their team.  The role will have a focus on financial institutions and is a relied upon adviser to the Partners working with these key clients.  It can sometimes be challenging to secure a role in London before relocating, and/or to secure sponsorship of a visa – but this firm is prepared to accommodate both of these things if you’re the right person for the job!

You can read more about this exciting opportunity here –

And if London’s still calling but this role isn’t quite right for you, then get in touch anyway and we would be happy to let you know how we can help.

Are you ready to relocate? A checklist of things to consider before you apply

Relocate - Dec13When applying for roles that require relocation, while incredibly exciting, there are many factors to consider – and that’s before you even get the role.  At Seldon Gill we have worked with many relocating professionals over the years and we know that the more thinking and research done upfront, the smoother the transition and more successful the interview process! This applies to both interstate as well as international moves.  Below we have provided a checklist of important questions that you need to consider before you click send on your application letter.

  • Have you done your research? What is the lifestyle like in this new Country/City? Is there a thriving Expat community?
  • Have you been to the location to visit?
  • What type of Visa are you eligible for? How long does this process take?
  • Do you have friends/relatives in the area?
  • Do you have a spouse and how deeply committed are they to a move? More talking?
  • If you have children, will the schools you can afford match your expectations?  Will their views form part of the decision making and are they committed to move?
  • Do you have pets and will they come? Does the new country allow them in?
  • Have you researched cost of living and the lifestyle you’ll have with market salary?
  • Will you sell / rent out /break the lease on your current home and how long will this take to organise?
  • Will you be shipping anything with you? What’s the cost?
  • Do you have a bonus coming up and are you happy to lose it by resigning before it’s paid?

None of the above points even touch on the type of role you wish to apply for; in our experience it’s important to focus on these personal and life matters first as you do not want to get to offer stage or even have relocated, only to realise this is not the move for you and your family.

Remember, packing your bags is the easy part!

A new breed of opportunity for BD professionals in South East Asia

South East Asia - Dec13When Seldon Gill first started recruiting BD professionals into Asia ten years ago, the focus was supporting BD for whole of Asia from a HK base. Gradually new stand alone roles emerged in smaller centres in like Singapore and Tokyo, reporting in to HK where the majority of the Asia wide team was based. Then 2/3 years ago Singapore became a huge growth market for professional services BD specialists and by last financial year Seldon Gill was placing as many people in Singapore as we did in HK. There are still smaller teams in total in Singapore at most firms, but it emerged as the hub for BD into the whole of South East Asia, now seen by most firms as a totally different regain from Greater China and North Asia, driven out of HK.  Singapore was a new option for many professional services marketers to consider.

(Of course, there are still some firms whose operations in Asia are not large enough to warrant a different BD team for North Asia and South East Asia, however the larger firms with the more significant regional BD teams treat the regions quite separately.)

Now, over the last 12 months we’ve seen a new trend emerge: an increase in opportunity for professional services marketers in smaller centres in South East Asia, including Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Vietnam and Jakarta.

For many firms that have briefed Seldon Gill and hired in these centres this year, it is not new to them to have a professional or team based there, the evolution is in the sophistication of BD required and so the increase in a want to relocate international candidates into these markets. Much like Hong Kong ten years ago, these firms are hoping to import more sophisticated expertise into these smaller markets.

Seldon Gill has been briefed on 1 or 2 roles in each of these smaller centres  mentioned this calendar year and our shortlists have included candidates from Australia, the UK, HK and Singapore primarily. Salary ranges have been hard to benchmark as there hasn’t been enough history of firms relocating BD people into these markets to create salary bands; and so salary discussions tend to come towards the end not the beginning of the process. It’s a fine balance between making it attractive enough for someone to make the move, whilst also being applicable to local markets and currencies. With some firms and locations, the negotiations have included which currency a candidate is to be paid in. This sort of process requires flexibility and realism on both sides and a willingness to start the conversation without all aspects of the role and logistics in place. (It used to be the same when we recruited roles in Singapore 5/6 years ago!)

Sometimes there’s been flexibility with job title – Executive/Manager and experience level but in the main candidates with 3-7 years’ experience have been most suited to this sort of career opportunity.  Unlike Greater China, languages skills are much less of a requirement in South East Asia too which takes away a barrier for some international candidates.

Depending on the size of the firm and BD team, some of the opportunities we’ve seen are stand alone in that location, reporting in to Singapore, and others form a member of a pre-existing small BD/marketing team in that office.

So if you’re considering a new role in Asia (whether you’re currently based there or not), make sure you consider these smaller centres too. With the growth happening all across SEA, it’s a great time to take your expertise to these locations.

If you’re interested in the current vacancies below then please do get in touch:

BD & Marketing Executive - Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 

BD Executive - New Delhi, India


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