Asian companies’ global ambitions drive demand for international talent

HONG KONG, June 21, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Robert Walters, one of the world’s leading professional recruitment specialists, has today published a whitepaper, “How to attract and retain the right talent to grow your business internationally – a guide for Asian companies”. The detailed report identifies and analyses the human resources challenges faced by Asian companies that are looking to grow internationally, including the key issues of how to acquire and retain talent, and the challenges, motivators and recommendations businesses should consider in developing their HR strategies.

Asian companies are growing in international status and changing the global business landscape. In the latest global Fortune 500 List, 40% (197) of the companies named were Asian, compared to 24% in the 2006 report. Of the Asian companies surveyed, 70% indicated they have plans to internationalise their business in the coming three years.

These companies frequently face challenges in their expansion plans when it comes to acquiring and retaining talent – the professional individuals with the skills they need to fill key roles. More than half (57%) of the companies surveyed agreed that hiring international talent is very important or somewhat important to them.

When candidates experience were asked if they are open to working in an Asian company, 57% said yes and that more than a third (37%) might consider such an opportunity. 64% indicated that they would be open to working in an Asian company that can demonstrate genuine growth potential and help their future career prospects. At the same time the majority (68%) ranked pay and benefits as one of the top motivating factors to work in an Asian company for the first time.

Joanne Chua, Robert Walters Regional Client Development Director – South East Asia and Greater China, said, “Just because candidates might not be actively looking for a job in an Asian company, it does not necessarily mean that they are unavailable. In our extensive study to identify what both companies and candidates are looking for, we found that apart from some of the hard factors such as pay and benefits, brand quality and reputation, elements such as a company’s growth potential and the local corporate culture can attract or repel job applicants.”

On the other hand, when international talent who have worked in an Asian company before were asked what they thought were the most rewarding aspects of working in Asian company, the most popular response was by far the local corporate culture (62%). This was followed by the way companies build a trusting relationship with their employees (36%) and the sense of giving back to their local community or home country (33%). These were significantly more important than better job titles (21%) and pay and benefits (9%), showing that while these are still important factors for talent attraction, they may not be the most effective tactics when it comes to retaining people.

Other Highlights from the whitepaper

60% of companies believed that it was more difficult to recruit international talent compared to talent with no international working experience. The greatest challenges they identified include:
Applicants’ expected salaries are much higher than the allocated budget
Candidates were not a good cultural fit with the company
There were not enough quality applications to choose from
It was difficult to find candidates with the required skills
Asian companies (27%) were more accustomed to referrals from existing employees and relied on their established networks when recruiting for candidates. By contrast, referrals are much less relied on by Western companies (7%).
Only 27% of Asian companies provided training for their hiring managers on how to attract international talent – an area where they face strong competition.
Recommendations to Asian companies

International expansion is without doubt an exciting and challenging prospect for Asian companies, but it is a significant undertaking and risks disruption to existing operations. While special value and advantages can be gained from securing international talent, there is strong competition to recruit the best people. Asian companies must ensure their recruitment and talent management processes are up to the task and remain robust in order to secure future success.

Click here to download the full whitepaper (English version only).

Notes to editors:

Robert Walters is one of the world’s leading specialist professional recruitment consultancies and focuses on placing high-calibre professionals into permanent, contract and temporary positions at all levels of seniority. Established in 1985, the Group has built a global presence spanning 28 countries and regions. The mainland China offices specialise in placing candidates on a permanent basis in the following specialities: accounting & finance, human resources, information technology, life sciences, operations & manufacturing, sales & marketing, supply chain, logistics and procurement.
This white paper was published in June 2018 is based on a survey conducted by Robert Walters. It gathered the views of more than 5,000 HR professionals, hiring managers and candidates working in Asian and Western companies across Mainland China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, The Philippines and Vietnam. Additional interviews and research were collated to complement the survey findings.
In this report, the term international talent refers to home-grown or returning professionals who have worked for Western companies, whether overseas or in their home countries.
Asia refers to eight fast-growing markets in East and South East Asia covered by our research, namely: Mainland China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, The Philippines and Vietnam. Asian companies are defined as companies headquartered in these eight countries or regions. Western companies are defined as companies headquartered outside Asia.


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