Lim Soon Heng from BFM 89.9 The Business Station interviews Rachele Focardi, Senior vice president of talent strategy and employer branding at Universum, on the strategic topic of attracting talent in Asia-Pacific. According to Focardi, Asia-Pacific is the region in the world that will experience the largest recruitment growth. Interestingly, however, a third of multinational companies don’t feel that that have the right presence in the area.
The result is that many more organizations will need to work strategically with their employer brands, by treating recruitment more like a marketing activity, by appealing to a new generational workforce that wants more out of life than what a past job description can possibly offer.
Focardi explains that the mindset of Generation Y has entered the workforce much later in Asia Pacific, in comparison to the west, but that a cultural revolution has now occurred, becoming a reality that most employers will be forced to address. Companies now need to help individuals of the millennial cohort to achieve their life’s purpose, as Focardi highlights that 85% of students in general see work as part of their identity, much more so than previous generations.
Moreover, she points out that there is an extremely high demand for skilled labor in the region and that the situation is further exacerbated by the difficulty to find the right quality of candidate, one who has the necessary soft skills to be able to succeed in a multicultural and international environment. Yet employers in the region say that most candidates lack such skills, such as adaptability, cultural sensitivity, emotional intelligence, etc. that are needed to succeed in this new business environment. As a consequence, a lot more organizations will be involved with academic institutions to help them train and develop students to acquire the soft skills that are needed to achieve in this global climate.
Fortunately, there are many Asian nationals studying in the west that exhibit the set of soft skills that corporations are asking for. The challenge for companies in Asia-Pacific, however, is to bring this talent back home. As a result, Focardi emphasizes that global sourcing will increase significantly in the coming years.
In short, Forcardi ends by saying that recruiting, which has been an operational activity until now in Asia-Pacific, will become increasingly strategic in 2014. Companies will learn to promote their organizations as employers to prospective employees, similarly to how companies have been promoting their products to consumers. In other words, companies in Asia-Pacific will need to learn how to become ideal workplaces for the target groups they wish to attract.