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  • Writer's pictureDawn Gulanes

6 Emerging Talent Trends Shaping the Commodities Industry in 2024

6 Emerging Talent Trends Shaping the Commodities Industry in 2024

In 2024, the human resources landscape within the commodities sector will be undergoing significant transformations, as predicted by our specialist consultant headhunters at Kepler Search. From heightened competition for top talent to evolving recruitment strategies, the year ahead promises dynamic shifts in how companies attract and retain skilled professionals.


1. The Pursuit of Top Talent: Navigating Post-Pandemic Challenges

With firms focusing on retaining their existing talent pools in the wake of the pandemic, it's getting harder than ever to attract the best talent for new jobs.

Companies need to be proactive and think ahead by starting the hiring process early and building relationships with potential candidates beforehand.

Remember, most people out there aren't actively looking for new jobs (as much as 70% according to LinkedIn!), so getting to know candidates in advance gives you a leg up when you have an opening.

Katie Tu - Oil, LNG, Energy Executive Search Recruitment Consultant

- Katie Tu, Managing Director at Kepler Search


2. Internal Mobility: Addressing Talent Shortages


It's interesting to see how companies have been adapting to talent shortages lately. One big shift we've noticed is the increasing use of internal mobility programs, where employees can move around within the company to different roles and positions to try their hand at something totally different.

It used to be that only the big oil majors and top-tier commodities trading firms had these kinds of programs in place. But now, it seems like more and more organizations are jumping on board.

Think about it: traditionally, once you landed a job in a company, that was pretty much it. You were expected to stick to that role for the long haul. But things have changed.

Now companies are realizing the value of promoting from within, especially for mid-level and senior positions. Experienced professionals get to explore new challenges, and new hires learn from the best. It also keeps everyone feeling valued and happy, which translates to less turnover and a more knowledgeable team.

If you organization has not yet started this, you only stand to gain. Investing in your own people makes the company more attractive to skilled professionals to not only solve immediate hiring woes, but also attract more talent in the long run.

Dawn Gulanes - Executive Search Headhunter

- Dawn Gulanes, Principal Researcher at Kepler Search


3. Evolving Recruitment Channels

Across the commodities industry, there has been a noticeable increase in confidential mandates, which will persist through 2024. Rather than publicly advertising job openings, companies now prefer to leverage their employee’s network to seek out referrals and turn to their trusted executive search partners.

By consulting their employees for referrals, hiring companies operate under the assumption that their existing employees possess an intimate understanding of the business and are well-positioned to make suitable recommendations. There has been better success when proper employee referral procedures are in place. Such procedures have helped ensure that those who make recommendations remain impartial and unaffected by the outcome, and that no steps are missed in the hiring process.

Hiring companies have increasingly engaged their executive search partners for confidential mandates with the aim to safeguard their growth strategies and expansion plans. Organizations expect their executive search partners to operate with discretion and entrust them to share the opportunity exclusively to the most suitable professionals whilst providing a consistent and cohesive message to market.

The level of competition within the commodities trading industry has necessitated trading firms to deploy this under-the-radar approach more often to recruit niche skillsets and experience across commercial and corporate functions.

Nicola Clarke - Metals & Mining Executive Search Headhunter

- Nicola Clarke, Executive Search Consultant at Kepler Search


4. Oil & Energy: Product-specific Talent Transition

In the oil and energy sector, there has been a growing trend of companies preferring to hire locals over expatriates for commercial roles without the usual requirement of prior product experience.

This shift is largely influenced by the significant increase in living and employment costs in Singapore. Expatriating overseas talents or supporting the lifestyle of expats already residing in Singapore has become too expensive.

Local talents are cautious in evaluating prospects that require change in specializations. Understandably, transitioning away from the network and expertise they have developed over the course of their career can cause anyone to hesitate.

Consequently, there has been a noticeable influx of professionals transitioning to new products, such as moving from bunker fuel to methanol or shifting from fossil fuels to clean energy.

Agassiz Kong - Oil Sector Executive Search Headhunter

- Agassiz Kong, Senior Consultant at Kepler Search


5. Food & Agribusiness: Focus on Succession Planning

Succession planning, especially crucial for SMEs and agribusinesses in Southeast Asia, is taking centre stage in 2024. Traditionally, SMEs leaned towards hiring expats without investing much in developing local talent. However, there's a growing realization of the need to cultivate homegrown talent while also figuring out how to navigate hiring talent from outside Singapore in the intricate labour market.

Businesses are increasingly emphasizing the adaptation and evolution of their approaches to stay competitive in various regional settings. It's all about staying agile and responsive to the changing demands of the industry and the workforce.

John Ong - Agribusiness, Metals & Mining Executive Search Headhunter

- John Ong, Business Manager at Kepler Search


6. Metals & Mining: Hiring Heats Up for EV Metals and Strategic Expansion

Established players may explore strategic expansion through acquisitions or diversification into new categories or products. This could lead to exciting opportunities within the sector. Base metal traders might be in high demand for their expertise in steel or raw materials, while lead/zinc specialists could find themselves well-positioned for roles in the EV metals sector.

The booming electric vehicle (EV) market is driving a surge in demand for battery metals, such as cobalt, lithium, nickel, lead, and zinc. These critical materials will be a major focus for recruitment throughout the year. Companies will be actively seeking professionals with expertise in these areas to capitalize on the EV revolution.

- John Ong, Business Manager at Kepler Search



From proactive recruitment to internal mobility initiatives, companies are redefining their HR practices to excel in a competitive market this year. Embracing these emerging talent trends enables organizations to position themselves for success in a dynamic and evolving industry landscape.

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2024 Edition - Anticipated Hiring Challenges in the Commodities Trading Industry and 5 Strategies for Success

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Need Expertise in Hiring Top Talent In Commodities? Or Are You Ready to Advance Your Career?

Embark on your journey with confidence! Contact us for a confidential discussion, whether you're ready to make your next career move or are seeking assistance in hiring top-tier executive talent.

Kepler Search is a boutique executive search firm based in Asia with global reach providing unrivalled access to premier talent, market insights, and local knowledge to support business growth. We deliver top talent across key business functions and industries, including Commodities & Energy, Oil & Gas, LNG, Utilities, Power, Natural Resources, Metals & MIning, Renewables, Agribusiness, Data Centers, and Infrastructure Investments.


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