The fight for top global talent gets fiercer

Candidates with overseas work experience continue to top recruiters' lists but is HR doing enough to attract them?

The fight for top global talent gets fiercer

Jobseekers with experience working abroad or at multinational corporations (MNC) are sought-after by Asian companies looking to expand their businesses overseas, but are companies doing enough to attract and retain such international talent?

Over half of companies based in Singapore recruited local talent who had worked overseas or at a large MNC – termed “international talent” – over the last 12 months, according to a recent report by Robert Walters.

Almost all of the study’s respondents (92%) agreed that employees with experience working overseas or in an MNC played a strong role in helping the company expand globally.

Challenges abound in attracting international talent however. The top limiting factors being:

- Expected salaries that are much higher than the allocated budget
- Candidates were not a good cultural fit with the company
- Not enough quality applications to choose from
- Difficulty in finding candidates with the required skills

When international talent were asked if they are open to working in an “Asian” company, an encouraging 57% of respondents replied positively, and 37% would seriously consider the job opportunity.

Additionally, although 68% of international talent typically preferred jobs with the most attractive pay and benefits packages, 64% of international talent would still consider companies that demonstrate genuine growth potential and are able to help their future career prospects.

“Just because candidates might not be openly looking for a job in an Asian company, does not necessarily mean that these talents will not be available to the companies,” said Joanne Chua, Regional Client Development Director – South East Asia and Greater China at Robert Walters.

“In our extensive study to identify more on both what companies and candidates are looking for, we found that apart from some of the hard factors like pay and benefits as well as brand and reputation of the firm; elements such as company’s growth potential and local corporate culture can attract or repel job applications.”

Apart from offering competitive salaries, the whitepaper recommends companies to be discerning by recognising other key factors to not only motivate international talent to join their company but also the reasons behind why they would leave.

When asked what some of the most rewarding aspects of working were in an Asian company for international talent, local corporate culture was by far the most popular response (62%).

This was followed by companies building a trusting relationship with their employees (36%) and the sense of giving back to their local community or home country (33%).

These triumphed beyond better job titles (21%) and pay and benefits (9%) while traditionally are still important factors for talent attraction but not the most effective tactics when it comes to talent retention.

In comparison to Western companies, Asian businesses hold some unique competitive advantages to retaining international talent, however there will inevitably be some issues that lead to employees to move on.

Of the international professionals surveyed, 56% cited not receiving enough opportunities for professional training and having been given no clear personal career progression path as the main reasons to leaving an Asian company.

Respondents (18%) found cultural differences a concern, ranked lowest as a reason for leaving – this was consistent with reasons given for enjoying working in an Asian company.


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