Opinion: A future in the cloud – APAC’s unique opportunity

APAC has a unique opportunity to shape the workforce of tomorrow thanks to technology such as cloud computing, one VPHR says.

Computer technology company Oracle Corporation recently announced their Asia Pacific expansion, which is to include the recruitment of 1000 new APAC employees. The company’s Vice President Human Resources for Asia Pacific and Japan, Alison Sibree, explains why the APAC region has a unique workforce opportunity thanks to technology such as cloud computing.

The whole world is on the brink of major business, consumer, and workforce transformation, enabled by technologies such as cloud computing and mobility. But nowhere does that transformation represent such a glowing opportunity as in APAC today.

The region boasts a large population committed to education, particularly in science, technology, engineering, and math (the so-called STEM subjects). The region is also enjoying rapid economic growth that, coupled with its renowned appetite for innovation, positions it as the exemplary workforce of tomorrow. It will be a workforce for which technology, particularly cloud computing and mobility, sits at the heart of what they do, and which will find innovative companies such as Oracle eager to embrace them and their skills.

Cloud computing is playing a significant role in the growth potential of this region. Not only does it provide companies with scalable and flexible platforms they can use to expand, but is the ideal support for an APAC workforce that is more mobile than any other, has high expectations of services powered by the latest technology, and demands full availability online and on mobile devices.

But there’s a need for far more than just technical skills to leverage all this potential. It will be vital that the region develop a mix of skills, from business analytics and problem-solving to sales, marketing, and consultancy.

Young, vibrant workforce

Undoubtedly, a ready abundance of smart people are entering the workforce. Data from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) shows China and India alone will account for 40% of all recent graduates within the G20 and OECD countries by the year 2020. China on its own is expected to account for 2%.

By comparison, that’s more than the US and the entire European Union combined, which will account for just over 25%, according to the OECD.

What’s more, the qualifications these graduates possess differ greatly to their Western counterparts. In EU countries the proportion of students pursuing degrees in the STEM subjects sits at around 25% of all graduates. In China that proportion is over 40% of a far higher number of total graduates.

Immersed in technology

This means there is not only a high level of technical skills but also a deeply engrained culture of technical appreciation.

At a time when technology trends such as cloud computing and mobility are shaping the business landscape in APAC more than ever before, there is an opportunity to capitalise upon the ready availability of skills, knowledge, and expertise here. Businesses from major retailers to banks, airlines, and media companies are seeking to grow their presence in APAC and capitalise upon the thriving economies in the region, a huge consumer base, and the unrivalled supply of skilled people.

This new generation of young people is also moving into decision-making roles across all lines of business. The new wave of workers, with high levels of tech literacy, not only provides companies with the people who implement technology - those who make it work and make it perform spectacular feats - it also provides them with productive but demanding end-users who turn to technology in the first instance, and expect it to deliver answers to their business questions. They fully expect technology to continue making them more productive, whether they’re in finance, marketing, sales, HR or elsewhere.

This creates a truly positive cycle where technology innovation fuels business demand for more innovation, raising the bar on corporate performance, efficiency and competitiveness. 

People skills as well as tech skills

As this generation continues to thrive on business transformation, the demands on technology providers will also increase. The most successful technology companies will not only be powered by technologists, but also by people who have the ability to appreciate the business needs of their customers, and possess the communication skills to evangelise technology and articulate the ways in which tech benefits their customers in the current economic landscape.

Driving the cloud

Oracle is keen to recruit the very best that the APAC region has to offer, at a time when the flexibility and lower cost of cloud computing is shaping the region’s businesses and supporting its dynamic growth. Cloud is a huge opportunity for APAC, and APAC in turn is a huge opportunity for companies like Oracle that share the region’s commitment to technology, appetite for learning, and its enthusiasm for the future.

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