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Asia's Demand for Management Talent

Jun 20, 2008
The on-going expansion of national economies across Asia is giving birth to new companies and ratcheting up demand for Asia experienced executives. It is also producing the kind of headlines that indicate to the region's executive recruiters that their best days are still very much ahead of them.

If anyone requires further convincing that the Asia-Pacific region indeed represents the new combat zone in the global war for management talent, just consider these facts: Hong Kong recently made public the largest Internet IPO since Google (GOOG), the Bombay Stock Market recently reached 20,000, equal to 40% annual growth, the Chinese economy is set to progress by a staggering 11% this year.

Asia is accumulating the kind of financial resources which can restructure the world economy in a way very different from what we have known since the years following World War II. In the present scenario it is easy to see how these companies and national economies will only become more reliant on world-class management talent to keep away the competition and continue this impressive growth story.

That is especially clear when one takes into account the population demographics of the Asia-Pacific region. The expatriate population of Singapore, for example, constitutes nearly one-quarter of its total population. And by 2016, the number of people age 60 to 64 in Australia will double, resulting in what will surely become a vacuum for experienced management talent.

Then take into account that most of the 10 largest companies by market capitalization worldwide are Chinese, and that a large portion of the world's largest companies are already doing business on the Chinese mainland. Many of the world's corporate executive staffing leaders are spending much of their time these days in Hong Kong and deep in the rich headhunting grounds of other flourishing Asian economies.

Leading management experts say that corporate talent management leaders throughout the Asia-Pacific region would be wise to stay away from their day-to-day priorities to evaluate how they are feeding their companies' rising demand for talent.

Rather than concentrating in a process that merely fills management-level jobs, these experts contend that corporate staffing executives from Hong Kong to Shanghai should follow a more systematic approach to their recruiting process because it can have a great effect on both the performance and profitability of your business.

According to leading management experts, crucial to such a systematic approach is changing the mindset within the company from one that sees executive hiring as a means to plug gaps in the organization's structure, to one in which the company's strategy is the origin for its decisions concerning who to hire, what management skills they must possess, and how they should lead an increasingly global workforce.

These leading management experts acknowledge that only a few hiring organizations around the world can actually point at the cost of their overall recruitment initiatives, let alone the exact return on investment those activities are driving to improve corporate financial performance.

The Asia-Pacific region's executive headhunters will be instrumental in connecting those dots, in part due to the prevailing demand for Asia experienced executives, and also because more of the world's largest multinational companies are investing more heavily in workforce contingency planning.

That is, they are not only paying headhunters to plug existing gaps in the corporate hierarchy. Increasingly, these companies are paying headhunters for what they know, who they know, and how they might prolong the company's brand and growth story to individuals it may someday desire to recruit, depending on how its strategy adapts against the backdrop of such rapid growth in Asia.

If Asia experienced executives is the new oil that is fueling the progress of companies around the world, the Asia-Pacific region is definitely the world's fastest-growing oil field, and one that will surely draw new front lines in the global competition for top talent. So, competitors throughout the world, beware.
About the Author
Hunt Partners is a high end Executive Search firm providing search and human capital solutions for global and regional clients who require discreet search of top management and board level positions.
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