[Ed. note: This post is authored by Evan Jowers and Robert Kinney of Kinney Recruiting, sponsor of the Asia Chronicles. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates and partners in Asia than any other firm in the past two years. You can reach them by email: asia at kinneyrecruiting dot com.]
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Evan here. While Korea practices, mostly based in Hong Kong, have been busy over the past year and in some cases even quite understaffed, there has up until just recently not been much hiring going of US associates with Korean background. We recently made a couple such placements at top 10 US firms in HK, one class of ’07 and one ’08, and appear close on another ’08 and an ‘05. However, there are many more very well qualified Korean US associates on the market in Asia than there are openings. Further, firms that do have needs in this area are moving very slowly to make hires, sometimes waiting months to complete an interview process.
Part of the reason is because firms have so much leverage in the lateral hiring market, due to the large number of native Korean US associates seeking to lateral at present from top US firms in NYC to Asia. The other main reason is that many of the top US and UK firms in Asia, while off hiring freezes months ago, still do not have the full green light to hire all the US associates they need. When firm management back in US or UK is only allowing one or two US associate hires in HK, for example, those offices are hiring the biggest area of need – native Chinese US cap markets associates.
We are predicting that there will be more hiring US associate hiring in Korea practices this fall and in early ’11 than was the case in the first half of ’10. There will also be more hiring of Korean native US associates at firms in HK that do not have a Korean practice, per se, but have a strong need for an associate or two with Korean fluency and ability to work on the ground in Korea for much of the year. One of our recent ’08 placements fits this description. Such needs arise as firms have more deal flow out of Korea, but not any Korean native associates. This type of hire will not be for only Korean deal work, but will be a mix of Korean and Pan Asia markets deal flow, with special responsibilities coming in the Korea work of course. Continue reading “The Asia Chronicles: STATE OF LATERAL US ASSOCIATE HIRING – KOREA PRACTICES”