Asia Pacific, Talent2, and HRO

Asia Pacific is the emerging market of the most interest to HRO service providers, especially RPO vendors. Most of the big names in HRO/RPO are building or expanding scale there to take advantage of the higher than average growth rates. ADP and NorthgateArinso are well-established in the region, and Futurestep, GP, Kenexa, ManpowerGroup, Mercer, and Towers Watson have all made recent acquisitions in China, Hong Kong, India, and Australia as the fastest way to get more feet on the ground in this expanding market.

Still considered an emerging market, some Asia Pacific countries are already mature including Australia and Japan, while others are truly experiencing the first rush of growth. Each country has different needs and challenges and HRO service providers need to bring a lot of service line experience and local knowledge to the table. While one industry needs a high volume of entry-level employees to meet demand, another, a bit further on the maturity scale, needs management-level employees with the experience to manage and continue growth of a more complex enterprise.

Newer entrants should not forget that there are regional providers already on the ground; one of the largest is Talent2, which covers the entire area and a bit beyond. Talent2 has continued its solid pace of contract wins across the Asia Pacific region. An example from the public sector is contractor procurement and management for 13 agencies of the Queensland government. In the private sector, contract wins included payroll, RPO, and learning, and cover Australia, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, and even the Middle East.

With ~1,700 employees, Talent2 supports 30 countries in 30 languages from its 46 offices and service centers located across 19 countries. With its scale and services it should be no surprise to find that Talent2 is, according to NelsonHall, the HRO leader in Asia Pacific.

Perhaps it is reasonable then that Talent2 has attracted interest from investors wanting to take it private. Morgan & Banks Investments (MBI) and Allegis Group have entered into an agreement to acquire the company, which will remain operationally as Talent2 if the deal is successful. MBI represents current major stakeholders and Allegis is already a Talent2 RPO partner. It will be interesting to see if privatization allows Talent2 to fuel even more growth in and outside of the Asia Pacific region.

Linda Merritt, HRO Research Analyst, NelsonHall

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