The phrase to cut one's coat according to one's cloth, or to plan one's aims and activities in line with one's resources and circumstances, could easily apply to job-seekers and employers alike as the recruitment landscape undergoes a significant change. Cheng Shing-chow, SearchAsia's senior director and general manager, says that while employment opportunities are improving, the dynamics for both employees and employers have shifted. 'A recession is never a pleasant experience, but what we have seen over the last two years has brought about a readjustment of values. Economies are growing again but there are fewer jobs. The main reason for this is companies have learned to manage their cash much better. As a result, around the world, companies are becoming leaner,' Cheng says. He says the financial crisis prompted the need for a recalibration of employee self-entitlement. For instance, during the boom years it was common for employees in certain professions to assume they should have a high paying job with extras and an enviable work-life balance. But these assumptions are now under scrutiny. 'The sense of self-entitlement, idealism and often greed has been forced to change. This is a positive correction of balance. At the same time, employers also need to realise they may not be able to hire the people they want under their own terms and conditions,' Cheng says. 'Will we see a return to the hiring situation of three or four years ago? Possibly, but unlikely in the near future. Far more likely over the next three to four years is that we will see less well-known companies expand their businesses and become significant employers. This means they are going to have to learn about employee management and retention,' Cheng says. 'There are no short cuts for employees and employers who will need to adjust their expectations. Employers need to understand it takes time to train people and develop the necessary skills to do a job. Meanwhile, employees should look at long-term career prospects and be prepared to put in the hard work and dedication it takes to earn promotion.' How well and fast an employee is promoted, and not merely salary increments through lateral career moves, is the defining hallmark of a good candidate, he adds. Equally important, as transparency and candour become a necessary part of a company's long-term business survival tools, management will need to learn how to promote a top-down culture of honesty and clarity. As the financial, regulatory and compliance sectors become increasingly sophisticated, Cheng says more people will be needed to manage and track information.