Volatility Is the Future – for Businesses and HRO

According to the Talent2 APAC Market Pulse Survey, many business executives in the Asia Pacific region have come to accept market volatility as the new business norm with a large proportion feeling more prepared to respond to unstable market conditions. The just released study presents a broad view of senior business executives across Hong Kong, Singapore, China, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan. Of the more than 700 survey respondents, more than 70% were from multinational corporations.

The goal of the study was to understand the level of business confidence and volatility and its impact on talent and people strategies across APAC. Tested by fire, 55% of the executives feel better prepared for continued market volatility. That will be needed, as the study highlights that even those countries enjoying consistent growth are concerned about another recession happening within the next year, with 97% in Singapore, 95% in Hong Kong, 87% in China, and 85% in Australia worried about another financial crisis.

Even with these concerns, many APAC companies are continuing to add employees with businesses in China, Hong Kong, and Singapore increasing staff numbers. In China, 80% of businesses have increased staff in the last 12 months, followed by Hong Kong and Singapore at 73%, then Australia (53%) with New Zealand (40%), and Japan (30%). At the same time, skill shortage is of concern in the region, with most businesses (65%) having experienced problems in recruiting due to skill shortages in the past year.

Although executives are accepting that market instability will continue and they must balance growth and cost control in the face of recessionary concerns, Talent2 points out that not much is changing in how workforces are managed in APAC. Most recruiting and hiring is focused on permanent employees, even though executives see the benefits in employing contract workers for the flexibility to scale up and down (76%) and the ability to better manage employment costs (43%). Currently, only 12% of the APAC workforce is employed on a contingent basis, compared to 22% globally.

It is not easy to move to a blended workforce that includes a greater use of contingent workers. For many of the APAC countries with faster growth workforces, employees are naturally looking for permanent jobs with higher wages. It is also hard to find all of the tools and talents needed to help from one vendor. RPO is taking off very well in many APAC areas, but vendors may not also have the technology and expertise to support building a contingent workforce.

Talent management is not just a software application. It is a critical business capability, one well suited for HRO providers that can blend technology, service, analytics, and consulting on a regional and global basis across the full suite of talent management elements. Leading HRO vendors should also be leaders in creating the agile workforces of the future. Who will we be seeing leading the way?

Linda Merritt, Research Analyst, HRO, NelsonHall

Interested in reading the latest HRO news from NelsonHall? Subscribe to our newsletter by emailing amy.gurchensky@nelson-hall.com with “HRO Insight” as the subject.

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