Executive recruitment consultant Steve Grant-Wilson is joining Shanghai-based Monroe Consulting Group China to head up the company’s Health and Consumer Goods divisions. The multi-lingual recruiter will be joining managing director Kelly Liu who continues to contribute to the overall success of the wider Monroe Consulting Group, recently named Best Small Recruitment Business for the Asia-Pacific. Mr Grant-Wilson recently had a wide-ranging conversation with journalist Cameron Bates about how he found himself in China, the development of his career in executive recruitment and how he can improve on Monroe’s proven recruitment methodologies.
Cameron Bates: You have an impressive CV. You’ve got a degree in law and French from the University of the West of England, you speak fluent French, Chinese and English and boast a career spanning financial services, corporate training and due diligence. How did you become based in Shanghai, China, as a recruitment specialist with ING, a global financial institution that provides banking, investments, life insurance and retirement services?
Steve Grant-Wilson: Following graduation, I worked for a few years in financial services in the UK but had long planned to explore Asia. One day, I decided to jump on a flight to Shanghai not really sure what to expect! I was instantly awestruck by the city, a thriving cosmopolitan metropolis testament to China’s meteoric rise - I quickly knew this was somewhere I wanted to develop a career. I worked for ING Shanghai for more than two years and as the contract came to an end I knew I wanted to work in a more customer facing sales role – an opportunity in executive recruitment came up and I haven’t looked back since.
CB: You must have liked executive recruitment as you moved to an executive recruitment company in 2011, initially in a business development role and then as a manager in Beijing and then as a managing director in Hong Kong?
SGW: Absolutely – one of the things I like most about recruitment is that you really do get out what you put in. On top of that it is genuinely satisfying to help a candidate take the next step in their career, or to help a business find the right candidate to drive expansion. My career in recruitment so far has allowed to me to combine my three passions – sales, meeting new people and experiencing different cultures.
CB: As managing director of Shanghai-based Monroe Consulting Group China, Kelly Liu has been doing great things in executive recruitment, contributing to the success of the group, which in 2018 again won a number of international awards for its recruitment services. What are your views on Monroe?
SGW: It’s true that Kelly is doing great things in developing Monroe Consulting Group China and I very pleased to join her team. Although this is still my first week, I am quickly beginning see why Monroe’s business model and its 12-step recruitment methodology has been so successfully transplanted in emerging markets across the world. And aside from the array of international awards, one of the things that drew me to Monroe was the commitment to organic growth and people development. A lot of recruitment companies simply pay lip slip service to people development and training, but Monroe walks the talk with in excess of 100 individual training modules developed inhouse and deliverable via webinar, e-learning and classroom.
CB: What are you bringing to Monroe?
SGW: I am heading up the Healthcare and Consumer divisions in China, bringing with me solid experience in leadership and team management. This aligned with Monroe’s proven business model and executive recruitment methodologies means we are well placed to develop long-term relationships with clients, enabling them to attract the very best talent in the short term and working with them to develop robust talent strategies in the longer term. I see tremendous room for growth in the healthcare sector, particularly in smart healthcare and in innovative medicine following the progress made in China’s approval processes in 2018.
CB: What are your views of the recruitment industry in Shanghai and the wider China?
SGW: Shanghai is a fantastic market for a recruiter with great opportunities to advance your career. Whilst China’s growth has slowed in recent years there are still many exciting opportunities for businesses and candidates. One change in the recruitment industry in China that I have witnessed first-hand is the rise of domestic companies in the war for top talent. When I first started working in recruitment in China, the top 20 percent of candidates would typically only want to work for foreign multinational corporations. Today, the situation is completely different with forward-thinking domestic companies driving innovation and offering attractive options for career growth.
CB: The best of luck in the endeavours of both yourself and Monroe Consulting Group China. Any last words?
SGW: Thank you Cameron. I am looking forward to furthering my career with Monroe and doing something that matters!