Kelvin Chong is a manager in the transactional services division at Robert Walters in Hong Kong.
I manage the procurement operations of a mid-sized logistics firm that is likely to be subject to M&A activity later this year, merging with a much bigger firm. It’s hard to tell whether this is a good or bad thing for me and my team and, subsequently, I’m not sure whether to stay or look for something new.
There’s a possibility that new opportunities will become apparent within the new company, but it’s just as possible that I’ll be deemed surplus to requirements and let go – and if that’s the case I’d rather have a head start when it comes to job-hunting. What’s the job market like in the industry at the moment and do you think I should jump before being pushed?
Whenever there are big changes in a company, there will be both opportunities and risks. I am sure the merger offers uncertainties for you, as well as your team and even the senior management in your firm.
Before rushing into a job hunt, take a step back and have a conversation with your supervisor about the future of your position and the company after the merger.
Although you might not be able to get a concrete answer, you may at least be able to get some idea about what will happen, which can help you plan ahead and look out for your team.
In any case, it is always a good idea to explore the available opportunities in the market by using your own connections, looking at job boards and speaking with recruiters in the field.
Due to global economic uncertainty, many industries – including logistics – are taking this chance to shape up and consolidate. Apart from some of the biggest players in the field, most logistics providers currently focus on one of three services: air freight forwarding, ocean freight forwarding or warehouse management (container services).
To stay competitive in the market, logistics firms are showing a tendency for diversification of their businesses, so as to cover a broader section of the market and provide full-service logistics solutions to clients.
This explains why there are, and will be, more mergers, acquisitions and integrations in the industry.
When assessing job opportunities, it is important for you to do some research on the business direction and services that each firm is going to focus on in the near future. The last thing you want to do is stay with a sinking ship, or join one without realising.
You can start by going to some interviews to understand more about prospective businesses in your sector.
Remember, a job hunt is like a matchmaking process, and it could take some time for you to land the right role. Don’t rush the process.
You don’t need to accept an offer unless you find it attractive, so take your time and maintain a broad perspective.
This article appeared in the Classified Post print edition as Map the logistics market before jumping ship.