APAC: HR called to lead strategic talent agenda
Charles Ferguson, General Manager, Asia Pacific, Globalization Partners, shares about trends like the RCEP and vaccination drives, that are influencing sentiments around business goals, workforce management, and talent hiring.
EITN: Could you share why CFOs in the APAC region are more optimistic than counterparts in other regions, about exceeding business goals and expectations?
Charles: According to a February 2021 survey conducted by CFO Research of Industry Dive and Globalization Partners, Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) revealed more Asia-Pacific executives expressed optimism for 2021, with 65 percent expecting to exceed goals and expectations, compared to only 49 percent for EMEA and 47 percent for North America.
Correlating the survey findings to the current sentiment of our customers, we found that high on the list of reasons for APAC executives’ optimism is the recent creation of the world’s largest trade agreement, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership between 15 APAC countries. Signed in November 2020, the mega-trade deal involves 30 percent of the world’s population and 30 percent of the global economy.
In addition, the ongoing vaccination drive across markets, brisk commercial activities and increased investments into the region are contributing to the regional executives’ optimism.
EITN: The report mentioned an emphasis on building resiliency. Do their hiring strategies play a role in enabling resiliency building? If yes, how?
Charles: Employee retention and hiring strategies are fundamental to building a resilient business.
As a company engaged in international hiring, Globalization Partners can attest to our customers’ placing a high priority in safeguarding their most critical asset: people.
Over the last 12 months, we advised and helped hundreds of customers to navigate changes in foreign manpower policies such as the suspension of H1B visa program in the US, the impacts of Brexit to EU and UK companies, and a more stringent and new requirements for employment passes in Singapore.
Executives are now taking a global view within their hiring approaches.
Hiring top talent gives companies a competitive advantage but it is challenging to navigate the complexity of international hiring. We guided companies in relocating employees while remaining compliant to prevailing labour laws in the markets they operate in, and we helped them onboard leaders and key team members where they lived in support of their growth plans.
As the CFO Survey 2021 revealed, the pandemic has altered how CFOs viewed remote and hybrid remote-office work models and workforce management strategies, and that the executives are now taking a global view within their hiring approaches.
* Seventy-four percent of the survey respondents in APAC anticipate operating remote and/ or hybrid workforce models in the next 12 to 18 months.
* Eighty-three percent of executives also say the COVID-19 pandemic fundamentally altered the way they think about hiring and workforce management and 89 percent say it altered how they consider remote employees or the work-from-anywhere model.
* Asked to describe their hiring strategy over the next 12 to 18 months as, 48 percent of APAC respondents say they will attract new talent where they are based while 43 percent say they want to attract new talent that is unbounded by the geographic restrictions of their company’s operating model.
* APAC CFOs have a high degree of interest in tapping into a more cost-effective, global talent pool—a concept favoured by half of those surveyed –and capturing market share through global expansion, which is favoured by 61 percent.
For CFOs, borderless working presents an opportunity to reimagine and adapt their business models. Even prior to the pandemic outbreak, companies were already looking across international borders not only for manufacturing, distribution, and sales but for the global talent pool. The pandemic and the advent of remote work underlined the immense benefits of international hiring. By expanding their search for talent, companies can find the least expensive talent and the best talent from countries with deep pools of ambitious, technically savvy, highly qualified workforces.
As post-pandemic merger and acquisitions could also spur more borderless work arrangements, the speed by which companies can add employees in new countries for new acquisitions, or as spinoffs happen becomes a crucial game-changer.
EITN: How do you see spending upon digital technologies and technology talents panning out, as vaccines are rolling out and investments are flowing into the region?
Charles: Aligned to the revolution brought about by remote work and the rapid adoption of technology required to enable it, HR is at a nexus point in bringing new technological developments into the business. AI everywhere, analytics and security will dominate the HR tech landscape for years to come.
Volatile conditions, rapidly changing legislation, rising competition means to survive in today’s world organisations must be scalable, agile and ready to proactively move. The stakes are high; failure to innovate, develop, evolve and adapt spells failure. HR as never before is called upon to play a leading role in driving a strategic people agenda – it is People that drive over 70% of cost in an organisation, it is people that innovate and drive growth and sadly it can be non-compliance related to people that collectively crush entire organisations.
HR as never before is called upon to play a leading role in driving a strategic people agenda.
As we see an influx of tech titans putting their investments and moving their business operations into Southeast Asia, amidst the ongoing US-China trade rivalry, we foresee that the tech talent crunch will persist. With the protectionist measures and tightening foreign manpower policies, companies must go beyond borders in order to fill these key roles, particularly technology positions, that they need for the business.
EITN: What are the main global supply chain shifts that you see? How will this increase opportunities and influence hiring trends/strategies?
Charles: Partly in response to the pandemic, companies have been focused on shifting their operations and supply chains to protect revenue streams, which includes diversifying and decreasing any over-reliance on China suppliers or markets. This rebalancing has created a significant shift in the workforce, predominantly into other Southeast Asian countries, with the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam reaping the rewards.
The region’s 27 countries are jockeying to attract companies to set up shop, offering their own tax incentives and subsidies. Australia has focused on reshoring work, bringing back jobs that had been moved offshore. Singapore has a visa program with incentives to encourage technology executives and entrepreneurs to relocate there.
This rebalancing has created a significant shift in the workforce, predominantly into other Southeast Asian countries, with the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam reaping the rewards.
Companies outside the region are increasingly interested in hiring from the Asia-Pacific talent pool, which is very young compared to other regions. Similarly, companies from Southeast Asia, Australia, New Zealand, and North Asia are increasingly investing in expansion into the U.S. and Canada.
EITN: Please describe your Employer of Record platform, what it does and the role it plays in enabling hiring trends/strategies.
Charles: Now, via the digital economy, talent can access jobs that only used to be available to people who lived within a 50-mile radius of big cities. As an Employer of Record (EOR), Globalization Partners makes it easy for companies to realize the benefits of this new world of work because we enable them to leapfrog over the complexities associated with hiring internationally. We serve as the legal employer, handling payroll, taxes, and benefits, and ensuring compliance with local employment laws and regulations, freeing up companies to manage and direct the daily work of their team members.
Business no longer needs to undertake the long, complex, and financially onerous task of setting up a subsidiary within their international employees’ countries. Easily administering benefits through our platform provide smooth, positive employee experience for our customers.
In addition to existing support in markets where they have presence, our customers are able to also access timely guidance about new markets they wish to launch next – all in just a few clicks. Local subject matter experts are also available to support companies with any questions or assistance they require in-market.
Business no longer needs to undertake the long, complex, and financially onerous task of setting up a subsidiary within their international employees’ countries.
As the world continues to move toward remote work, our platform provides the framework for global the workforce of the future giving companies the freedom to hire talent anywhere and provides the means for companies to manage payroll internationally for their teams.