An update from our CEO, Declan O'Sullivan | Kerry Consulting

    An update from our CEO, Declan O’Sullivan


    Dear Client / Candidate,

    As the Covid-19 virus outbreak continues to evolve, we at Kerry feel that now would be a good time to share some general thoughts with you regarding talent acquisition and career planning, amongst other things.

    Let me begin by wishing you and your family continued good health or a swift and complete recovery, as the case may be.

    If there is any tiny silver lining in this exceptionally dark cloud, it is the reminder not to take our health, family, friends, communities and businesses for granted.
    We at Kerry are committed to making our contribution to the fight against the hugely problematical, associated economic dislocation.

    As a Singapore firm, we are committed to maintaining our own employment levels and hence our ability to provide high quality, uninterrupted services to our clients and candidates both during the outbreak and also, during the recovery phase. We were heartened to see the Singapore State step into the breech, to shore up corporate and individual liquidity, until the situation stabilises.

    Our advice to our own staff is to:

    • Work intensely
    • Remain calm
    • Try to shut out the noise and discern the opportunities that will arise from this crisis, like all other crises
    • Take bold, swift and resolute action to capitalise on these opportunities

    We believe this advice is equally applicable to our clients and candidates.

    Every firm and indeed individual, will face different threats and opportunities. It is vital to think about these now and not allow oneself to be overwhelmed by the endless flow of bad news. Many companies will have an opportunity to bolster their talent “balance sheet” in key areas.

    Talent shortages are not going to simply disappear.

    Similarly, many individuals will find that the crisis will actually create opportunities for them, if one can recognise and capitalise on them early. Of course there will be risks in taking action. Nonetheless, let’s not forget that inaction also breeds risk.

    Put another way, “Opportunity comes to pass not to pause”.

    We at Kerry, as the largest executive recruitment firm in Singapore, stand ready to assist our clients and candidates. We have more than 400 years of experience embedded in our exceptionally seasoned team and many of us have been through all of the disruptions from the Asian Financial Crisis of 1997 through to the present. Sometimes perspective helps.

    This current crisis while different in nature, will also recede into memory and as with all the others, some will emerge from it stronger than ever and some not.

    We all need to be thinking deeply and preparing to act.

    I would also like to point out what this crisis is not. It is not a war.

    War is about violence and destruction and in a very real way should be seen as humanities greatest folly and failure.

    There is a reason why World War 1 (1914 to 1918) which may have led to a total of 20 million fatalities, still hugely over shadows the Spanish Flu (1918 to 1919) as a global event, even though the flu probably killed 50 million and infected 500 million, then a third of the world’s entire population. The war destroyed a huge portion of an entire generation and with it many societies. It spelt the end of entire systems of government in much of Europe, notably in Germany, Austro Hungary, Russia and elsewhere.

    It was entirely man made and therefore entirely avoidable.

    A virus however comes essentially unbidden from nature. It is something which we as a species must confront together. It is an opportunity for us to rise above our divisions and rebalance our perspectives.

    How is all of this going to play out?

    Obviously no one knows but it wouldn’t be unreasonable to expect that containment efforts will bear fruit in East Asia first and hence that economic recovery, spluttering and uneven at first, and supported by massive state intervention, will also take hold in this region first. Effective anti-virals will be developed in the near term and a vaccine will appear, presumably in 18 months or so.

    At the end of the day, the “show must go on”. Daily life will continue. Normality will return. Ultimately many opportunities will present themselves for firms and individuals that position themselves appropriately.

    In the meantime, many already are suffering. Sadly, many more will follow this path.

    Let’s try to be kind, wise and courageous.

    Declan O’Sullivan