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A New Culture of Remote Working is Changing the Landscape of Bulk Commodity Recruitment

Welcome to Aurex Group's Asia monthly snapshot for metals and bulk commodity recruitment where we highlight some of the factors and events influencing the industry for businesses and talent. In this issue, our specialists look at burnout and how the new culture of remote working has affected the broader workforce. We also shine a light on developing hiring trends and recent talent movement across the metals and bulks community.

Remote Working, Workplace Burnout, Mitigation​

Companies are at risk of losing more employees with the current CoVID-19 pandemic and this affects HR as well as company bottom lines. With decreased recruiting budgets, it is important that HR teams find cost-effective solutions that demonstrate a strong return on investment (ROI) and make use of technology that is well integrated and analytics-driven while maintaining the current pool of existing employees. Delays in projects and losses are also causing existing employees to take on more work-related stress due to shortage of manpower, longer work hours, and carrying out unexpected workloads of their co-workers.

Assignments given to an untrained or disinterested employee may lead to employee burn-out, and the cost to the business can be significant. Employee burn-out contributes to losses in workplace productivity arising from workplace accidents, absenteeism, and abuses. At the HR level, employee burn-out contributes to employee disengagement and turnover, which impacts the cost of rehiring and retraining, as well as further project delays and increased negative impact on remaining employees.

The World Health Organization and the International Classification for Diseases (ICD-11) define burn-out as a phenomenon in the occupational context that creates “a syndrome resulting from chronic workplace stress” that causes an employee to feel exhausted, disengaged, and/or reduced professional efficacy. Something significant took place in June 2021. The International Standards Organisation (ISO) published ISO 45003 that provided guidelines for managing psychosocial risks to promote better psychological health and safety at work.

The effect of psychosocial hazards can negatively impact a person’s physical and mental health. Some people may develop negative coping behaviours to cope with psychosocial hazards such as alcohol or drug abuse which can possibly lead to addictions that affect their well-being in the workplace.

Potential negatives that can occur are:

  • Loss of employees

  • Mental breakdowns/burnouts in employees

  • Ineffective training negatively affects corporate leaders’ successes

  • Failure to attract adequate new employees to the profession

Under normal circumstances, stress and disengagement in employees can only be known if they are observed or reported by the employees themselves. If the stress they are facing is ignored, or if employees do not realize they are experiencing stress symptoms, there is a multitude of negative effects which will occur.

Workplace burn-out can be minimized through proper analysis and identification of employees' core potential. By adopting an employee-centric approach to the company’s existing system and recruitment process, a more healthy, vibrant, and happier workplace can be created for everyone.

I hope you enjoy our latest market insight for metals and bulk commodity recruitment. For a discussion around recent mandates, compensation, or other hiring trends, please do not hesitate to get in touch. 


What people are talking about

Thyssenkrupp, Nippon Steel, and Fortescue Metals are looking at embracing the technology to make green steel. Green steel now can be made by replacing coal with green hydrogen, which would produce water vapour instead of CO2 emissions. Steel is further strengthened by adding carbon separately, allowing it to bond with the metal instead of being released into the atmosphere. Will this method start to have a larger following? Also, is this better than the more radical approach of scrapping the blast furnace entirely and using renewable electricity with iron ore instead?

Battery metals continue to be of great interest in mining recruitment. One of them includes South Africa’s Sibanye Stillwater, which announced that it will buy a copper and nickel mine in Brazil for $1 billion USD. This move comes as especially interesting as they are originally a precious metals miner and looking to diversify their portfolio away from gold and platinum. Will we see more of such purchases from other miners? Will we see more investment in the battery metals market?

With coal prices on the rise, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) of China announced that it will intervene in domestic coal prices by imposing a price ceiling. While the price level was not officially disclosed, noise on the ground says that the price is likely to be around $188 USD per tonne when winter kicks in. This is currently a far cry from current spot prices trading at approximately $300 USD per tonne. What impact is this likely to have on the market in the next month? Will the coal trader profession continue to be robust? How long will this ceiling be implemented for?

Developing countries continue to show reluctance to transition from coal to renewable energy sources. For example, Serbia and Bosnia do not plan to exit coal until 2050. In the meantime, however, they have resorted to planting “Energy willows” or “Thermal Willows” – these plants have a heat value higher than brown coal and lignite and can be used as replacements. The use of these plants is said to reduce harmful gases and energy emissions. However, the sustainability of this is questioned. These plants replace a part of the process but do not stop the burning of coal and enable the transition. Will such half measures continue to prevail until serious strategies are thought of and implemented in developing countries?

In bulk commodities recruitment we have noticed Bunge, Cargill, Louis Dreyfus, and ADM reported a huge profit increase in the recent quarter. Did these large grain traders benefit from the shifts the pandemic triggered in food and fuel spaces as consumers stayed home, cooked more meals, and avoided travel? Is this trend likely to continue into the last quarter?

What we are currently working on

  • Lithium Sales / Trader, Singapore or Shanghai

  • Senior Base Metals (Cu or Ali) Trader, Shanghai

  • Steel Derivatives Trader

  • Senior Credit Manager, Singapore

  • Trade Finance Manager (Metals), Singapore

  • Operation Manager (Bulks), Singapore

  • Operations Executive (Power), Singapore

  • Middle Office Executive, (Power), Singapore

  • Biofuels Trader, Singapore

  • Senior Coal Trader (Thermal), India

  • Carbon Trader, Europe

  • Environmental Products Trader, Europe

If you are interested in any of these roles, please reach out to us via the contact details at the end of this newsletter. 

Market Moves

  • Joe Yassen has joined Tor Investment Management as Vice President, previously Vice President Commodities Structured Finance at ING in Hong Kong.

  • Yuan Xu has joined BP in Shanghai as Head of Carbon, previously in a similar role at Statkraft in Europe.

  • Tom QiuA has joined Freepoint as Head of Metals and Minerals Asia, previously Senior Metals and Bulk Trader at Mercuria, in Singapore.

  • Garin Wong has joined Gerald Group as Senior Copper Concentrates Trader, previously in a similar role with China Copper, in China.

  • Michael Boddy has been promoted to Head of Trading (NZ) with Mercuria, from a Senior Derivatives Trader, in New Zealand.

  • Vikas Shenoy has joined Engie as Director, Commercial and Green Solutions in Singapore, previously Head of APAC Origination and Partnerships at Trovio.

  • Bob Qi has joined Trafigura in Shanghai as an Oil Trader, Previously Director, Raw Sugar Procurement and Risk Management at DXFD Sugar.

  • Michael Boddy has joined Mercuria as Head of New Zealand Trading, Previously Derivatives Manager at Mercury NZ.

  • Frederic Barnaud is said to be joining Mercuria in Europe, previously CEO Pavilion Energy.

  • David Gallagher has joined Morgan Stanley as Managing Director, Head of Commodities Structuring, previously Head of Structuring and Investments at Mercuria.

  • Pallav Moona has joined Anglo American as STF Lead, previously Head of Structured Finance SEA at Louis Dreyfus.

I hope you enjoy our latest market insight for metals and bulk commodity recruitment. For a discussion around recent mandates, compensation, or other hiring trends, please do not hesitate to get in touch. 

Alex Kerr

Aurex Singapore Pte Ltd | +65 9007 2185

12 Marina View, #11-01 Asia Square Tower 2, Singapore 018961

EA 18S9493 | R1328009