Asia-Pacific Career Guide


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The Asia-Pacific Career Guide gives insight into the world of employment outlook and opportunities for the next-in-line managers across the APAC region.

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Asia-Pacific Career Guide

  1. asia-pacific career guideEmployment outlookand opportunities fornext-in-line managersacross the regionby anthony raja devadoss
  2. the marketIt’s never been more difficult to summarise the economic and business outlookfor one region as it is right now. Many interconnected forces are at play andactual outcomes are dependent upon how individual countries and governmentsreact. However, it seems Asia-Pacific is the quiet centre in this storm.01 the market02 the focus03 the skills04 the sell05 the reward06 the first six months 2
  3. What you’ll be working with in 2012China, India, and their developing neighbours Exposures in Asia to European debt is a concern For mid-to-senior level career development in • Regional knowledge, global mindset:have the world’s economic future squarely but thanks in part to relatively high inflation, the region, the focus for the next 12 months is demonstrating a broad understanding of howpinned to them. Yes, we need a stable EU and there is greater room for policy-driven stimulus going to be on: culture, government policy and organisationala prosperous America, but in the APAC region, and corrections here than in other parts of the structures differ across the regions will be keyChina is still the critical engine of growth. And world. All of this adds up to one outcome: if • Capturing growth: individual ability to to many companies looking to consolidate inas time goes by, China is less dependent upon opportunity and career prospects are going to understand and recognise opportunities in existing markets and grow in new ones.external demand to fuel its development. remain strong anywhere, it’s in Asia-Pacific. the region (and outside it) will be critical toSo, it’s likely that slowing exports to the EU— executing company strategy. Whether you’re a manager looking to take theshould the negative news continue—will likely As the beacon of economic prosperity next step in your career, or a leader looking to throughout this crisis, companies large and • Improving process without slowing growth: fill mid-to-senior level positions, these will betrigger a softer economic landing here than in small will continue to look for opportunities high growth in the region has meant process among the defining characteristics of successfulother parts of the world. in the region. From an individual career and governance has taken a back seat. As candidates in the short- to medium-term.Third-quarter data shows China, India and development perspective, solid experience growth moderates, managers will need to utiliseIndonesia are still growing strongly while the in the Asia-Pacific region is going to become their skills to improve oversight across a rangesmaller, emerging economies in the region are a key differentiator, and in some cases a of areas without impeding flexibility and agility.experiencing less robust growth. Intra-regional prerequisite. That said, experience in otherdemand is still strong, evidenced in part by markets is going to be of greater use to localcontinuing inflationary pressures. companies looking to expand outside the region. Local companies are on the rise and need talent to help them capture opportunities in other markets. If you have knowledge of both, you’re already streets ahead. All of this adds up to one outcome: if opportunity and career prospects are going to remain strong anywhere, it’s in Asia-Pacific. 3
  4. Companies and industries to watchBanks and resources are unsurprisingly amongthe dominant players in the Asia-Pacific region. CJ CheilJedang, South Korea SK Group, South KoreaBy market capitalisation, the regions banks, Samsung Electronics, South Koreaparticularly those in China, are forging ahead of Hanwha Group, South Korea Hyundai Group, South Koreainternational competitors. However, there are agrowing number of opportunities in expanding Asian Paints, Indiaindustries including property, retail goods, food Airtel, India Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Japan HCL Technologies, Indiaand telecommunications. It’s these sectors thatwill be looking to expand and hire key talentin the short- to medium-term, and which offeramong the best career prospects. Agile Property Holdings, China Ping An Insurance, China Belle International Holdings, China China Mobile, China Gome Electrical, China Axiata Group, Malaysia HTC, Taiwan Noble Group, Hong Kong JG Summit Holdings, Phillippines Asia-Pacific Breweries, Singapore CP All, Thailand Adaro Energy, Indonesia Bank Central Asia, Indonesia Newcrest Mining, Australia BHP Billiton, AustraliaFigure 1. Companies with strong growth prospects inthe APAC region. This list provides a small snapshot ofcompanies well-positioned to offer career prospects inthe region. Their competitors are well worth watching, asare companies that may provide expansion and mergeropportunities. 4
  5. the FocusOne of the biggest changes in the Asia-Pacific employment markets over the pastfive years has been—and will continue to be—the rise of local firms as preferredemployers. What this group is focused on will be different to the multi-nationals.01 the market02 the focus03 the skills04 the sell05 the reward06 the first six months 5
  6. Local versus global strategiesMulti-nationals have enjoyed employer-of- Multinationals versus Domestic employers in Chinachoice status in the region for a long time,largely due to greater opportunities and highersalaries. However, this is no longer the case.Local firms can now offer similar or greater Employees preferring multinationalsopportunities for the right candidates. Employees preferring domestic firms 13% 55% 33% 18% 2007 2009 6
  7. The keys to growthThe strategic priorities for companies in the • Increasing customer value: dominant • IPOs and shareholder value: as traders and • Sustainability: a rapidly urbanising populationregion, or expanding into it are changing. They players in emerging markets (such as China investors look for safe havens in the economic is increasing pressure on cities, infrastructurewill be looking for candidates to help them Mobile, which has an estimated 600 million- storm, experience in IPOs in the region and and the environment more generally. Whilecapitalise on issues such as: plus users) face the tougher task of growing in delivering increased shareholder value are overall CO2 emissions from Europe and North and maintaining market share amid growing going to be sought-after skills. America are decreasing, Asia-Pacific emissions• Expanding outwards from Asia: while many competition. Instead, they will be looking are still rising substantially year-on-year. Ascompanies are clearly looking to expand into for talent to make more out of their current • Mergers & joint ventures: as companies governments implement pollution reductionAsia-Pacific, local companies are also looking opportunities and increase loyalty to compete look to grow market share in an often tightly schemes and tighter regulations on industry, theto expand out into other regions. Assisting with new entrants in their market. regulated market, acquiring local businesses ability to improve productivity and reduce costscompanies based in local, emerging markets or entering into joint ventures is high on many through sustainability measures will be in higherthroughout Asia to grow their borders will be a • Speed of strategic implementation/change corporates’ agendas. The $7.2bn deal between demand.key skill in high demand. management: companies face a competitive BP and Reliance Industries is just one of many race to capture opportunities in the region— examples of how even large organisations are• Accessing Asia’s cash reserves: banks are their talent requirements are increasingly managing growth in the region.looking to increase margins, reduce risk and focused on proven ability to implement large-consolidate loan volumes. More international scale change projects quickly.banks are seeking to increase their presenceand relevance across Asia, particularly to access • Plugging skills gaps: growing economiesprivate cash reserves held by individuals and tap need talent, and particularly in APAC there areinto the need for business loans in the region. large gaps between talent needs and availabilityBanking and financial services across Asia- of skilled resources. So, companies will bePacific is likely to become more competitive as looking for people with the ability to train anda result. lead others in particular fields—exceptional people management ability will be high on the list of desired skills. Understanding cultural Companies will be looking for people with differences and the ability to adapt leadership qualities for different markets will be critical for the ability to train and lead others… the leaders of the future. 7
  8. the skillsThere are significant skills shortages across much of Asia-Pacific andemployment remains high despite economic uncertainty globally. Shortagesof both technical and “soft/people” skills, threaten to limit organizations’abilities to serve the needs of their clients and customers, and this is a strategicconstraint many organisations are seeking to more proactively manage.01 the market02 the focus03 the skills04 the sell05 the reward06 the first six months 8
  9. Understanding the shortagesThe industries still enduring the most acute • Communication: with an increasing number critical skills – all industriesshortages of mid- to senior talent are the of communication channels used by businesses, what is most important and what is in shortage?engineering, life sciences and pharmaceutical, including email, web conferencing and socialretail, and the IT & telecommunications sectors. media, there is more pressure on mid- toHowever, particular skill sets are in high demand High importance senior-level executives to adopt a conciseand low supply across many sectors. Knowing and meaningful communication approach.what these are can help you position yourself Being able to communicate effectively acrossfor career growth. Communication multiple platforms will be a distinct advantage Work-related Problem solving & over other candidates.Given the cultural and language diversity of technical skills decision makingthe region, as well as the talent development Teamwork People management • People management & strategic thinking:pressures that have been created by rapid Strategic thinking in Asia-Pacific, issues of management stylegrowth, it’s perhaps not surprising that the skills and the ability to convey a strong vision to staffin greatest demand but lowest supply in the are rated as more critical to employees thanregion include: low shortage High shortage in other parts of the world. Our own research• communication of some 97,000 employees globally reveals that Initiative & enterprise• problem-solving and decision-making Lifelong learning employees in Asia-Pacific are more likely to cite• people management; and Global mindset management issues as a reason to leave their• strategic thinking. Marketing & sales workplace. As companies look to stem the Creative thinking Project management tide of high turnover in the region, managementFor candidates living in Asia-Pacific, developing Self management for retention will be a key differentiator for Negotiationthese critical skills and demonstrating senior managers. Health & workplace safetyexperience in delivering them will providea significant advantage in obtaining your low importancepreferred role. For outside candidates lookingto work in the region, it’s likely that theseskills will be nothing short of mandatory ascompanies seek to plug skills gaps and recruitcandidates externally to improve performanceacross these areas. 9
  10. Skill needs by industryAcross each of the five sectors surveyed,common themes and niche issues aroseregarding skills shortages. All five sectorsreported high demand and high shortage of Strategic Thinkingproblem-solving and decision-making skillsin potential candidates. In the manufacturing Fin Services / Bankingsector, teamwork seems to be a niche issue, as Creative Thinking IT & Telecommsdoes the lack of work-related technical skills inthe engineering and financial services sectors. Manufacturing Life sciences/ Pharma Life sciences / Pharma Work-related tech skills Communication IT & Telecomms Fin Services / Banking Manufacturing Engineering Fin Services / Banking IT & Telecomms Problem-solving / decision-making Engineering Manufacturing Teamwork Life sciences / Pharma Manufacturing IT & Telecomms Fin Services / Banking People Management Engineering Life sciences / Pharma Fin Services / Banking 10
  11. the sellFor mid- to senior-level positions, more often than not, the jobcomes to you rather than the other way around. However, there areways to increase the likelihood that the right job will find you.01 the market02 the focus03 the skills04 the sell05 the reward06 the first six months 11
  12. Networking & influencingIn developing markets throughout Asia, Networking opportunities: • Online networking sites: connecting with • Work functions: we all need to balance workincluding India, China and the Philippines, recruiters and colleagues on professional online with family and other commitments, thereforepersonal networks are by far the most dominant • Professional associations: attending events forums has varying impact depending on your it’s critical to choose carefully which work eventsway that people find work. The number of and being a member helps, but being actively market. In Australia, Singapore and other you attend. Larger events may actually bepeople here who utilise friends and family to involved in formal ways helps even more. When developed markets it’s a good way to keep lower in value from a networking point-of-viewgain employment in these countries is much there are opportunities to assist with events or up with a large number of opportunities and and provide fewer opportunities to engage inhigher than the global average. to take on formal positions within a professional connections, yet there are significant cultural meaningful dialogue. Look for opportunities to association you’re affiliated with, jump at barriers to this form of networking in places share knowledge and engage with others thatAcross the region, it seems that the more them¬—you can make many connections and like China. It pays to be aware of cultural represent quality over quantity.developed the economy the less reliance learn from others. norms when looking to expand networks andthere is on friends and family to gain work. if your strategy is region-wide, you’ll need toIn Singapore, Australia and South Korea for • Alumni groups: if you are completing further use more than one site and more than justexample, candidates are more reliant on study or have done so in the past, join or online methods.recruitment firms and other forms of advertising reconnect with alumni groups. The commitmentto find employment than they are on family and is low and many only require attendance atfriendship networks. That said, social media a couple of events annually, but they are anetworks are growing in importance and have great way to stay connected with like-mindedsignificant benefits if used to your advantage. In individuals as they move through their careers,any market now, it’s important to understand the as well as opportunities to source new talent.difference between networking and influencing. The rise of influence Forget about how many people you’re connected with online—who are they, and how connected are they with experts in your field of work? How likely are they to view, comment on or share any of your network activities? The quality of your connections and the take up of the content you share will increasingly determine your ability to become an ‘influencer’ online. And for roles in the sales, marketing, HR and management consulting fields, the ability to influence is gaining importance. However, this only holds true in some markets. So, do your research, think broadly about how your content will be perceived across borders, and remember that there is really no such thing as a global social networking platform. 12
  13. Leveraging recruiters & HR consultanciesRecruiters, head-hunters and HR consultancies Make sure they know you well: spend time Be patient: when you’re ready to jump ship it’scome in all shapes and sizes, and no matter how with your recruiter. When we’re busy and tempting to go before the right role comes up, Free agents, freelancerssenior or junior you are, there will be one to suit already gainfully employed it’s hard to find but it can take upwards of six months, even in a and flexibilityyour needs. The hard part is knowing how to the time and the motivation for meetings and buoyant market, to find the right role at a senior A report from the Economists Intelligenceget the most out of them. coffees with recruiters, but a good one will get or managerial level. Unit: Global firms in 2020 shows that there to know you and your strengths well in order toKnow what you want and what you don’t: if Know what you’re worth: don’t look for is a growing trend toward free agency and match you with the right role. But they can’t doyou wait for recruiters to come to you, chances recruiters to decide your salary. Know as much contract work and a decline in permanent this unless you give them time.are they’ll be more focussed on filling the role or more about the marketability of your skills so positions. When executives were asked,they have on offer than on what your individual they can set expectations with clients upfront. “How will the employee experience change atneeds are. It’s in recruiters’ interests to get the [your] organization over the next 10 years?”best fit, but when they have vacancies they’ll Six in 10 (62%) said that they would expectlook to fill it as fast as they can. So, recruiters to see a growing proportion of contract-basedcan be part of a proactive career strategy but workers, or free agents—that’s five timesonly if you’ve got a good idea of where you’re the number who expect to see aheaded. If you’re looking for career advice, growing proportion of permanent workershead to a specialist in your field, not a recruiter. at their organization. If you fit the description of a free agent, you’re better off partnering with HR consultancies or outsourcing firms who work with companies on a project-by-project basis.Recruiters can be part of a proactive careerstrategy but only if you’ve got a good idea ofwhere you’re headed. 13
  14. the rewardRegardless of your role, skill level or industry, it pays to knowwhat you’re worth before you start negotiating. If you know thata particular skill is in high demand and you have it, you should doyour research to find out what other firms are paying for it.01 the market02 the focus03 the skills04 the sell05 the reward06 the first six months 14
  15. Wage growthWage growth across Asia-Pacific continues India, Indonesia and China have seen Wage growth in the mature Japaneseto be strong due to skills shortages and the strongest wage increases in 2011. and Australian markets lag the broaderelevated inflation. region, but are less impacted by • India’s average wages were forecast to rise inflationary pressures.• Stronger than expected job creation lifted 10% in 2011, with some analysts predicting average wage growth to 5.2% in 2010 – a 12-15% annual wage growth over the next • Japan continues to experience the lowest significant improvement over the 3.2% five years. Engineering, auto, and energy wage growth in the region as job creation growth reported in 2009. sectors are seeing among the strongest was weak leading into the earthquake/ wage hikes. tsunami. The 2.3% wage growth estimate for• Strong demand for talent has caused 2011 was made prior to the disasters. employee turnover rates to double or triple • China’s 31 provinces boosted minimum across China, India, Australia, Singapore and wages by an average of 24% in 2010, • Australian hourly wages grew 4% YOY during Malaysia during the first half of 2010. prompting some manufacturers to look the first quarter on 2011 following a strong elsewhere for cheaper labor. In January, year of job creation. As Australia approaches Coach Inc. announced it would decrease the full employment and skills shortages grow, production of its handbags and wallets from further wage pressure is anticipated. 85% to 50% by 2015 in China. • Dong Tao, an economist with Credit Suisse, believes China will reach the “Lewisian turning point” by 2014 – a critical moment in a developing economy when its surplus labor supply dries up, prompting hikes in wages, prices, and inflation. • Inflation is contributing to Indonesia’s 9% wage growth forecast in 2011. 15
  16. the first 6 monthsSo you’ve secured the right role and start tomorrow. Before you get toocomfortable, you should know that your biggest challenge still lies ahead: makingthe role a success. The first six months of a new role are critical. This is when youset the expectations for the rest of your tenure and when people will be keen toknow what you have to offer. Three of our key leaders in the Asia-Pacific regionshare their advice on what to focus on in the first six months of your new role.01 the market02 the focus03 the skills04 the sell05 the reward06 the first six months 16
  17. James Agrawal, Country Head of BTI IndiaAsking questions and On building relationships Words of wisdommaking change When starting out in a role, new relationships Respect individual space. Don’t overdoDuring the first six months in a role, my will often be one-dimensional. It’s only when your own PR and don’t buy into gossip!advice is to focus more on listening and you get to know people better and how The more you focus on completingobserving before getting into questioning- they operate that you can align your efforts your tasks the better off you’ll be.mode. New employees cannot always be to build relationships more effectively.aware of all the issues going on and shouldfocus on getting as much clarity as possible Obviously, you’re drawn to people who haveon work-related issues and challenges. similar likes and dislikes and ways of operating as you do. With any work relationship, includingGenerally, I think waiting a little longer to the relationship with your manager, it mustfloat your new ideas ensures you can do so always be a fine balance between individual andknowing that you have a good understanding professional priorities. When you get this right,of workflow and all other issues. you have something sustainable and productive. 17
  18. YouMe Jeon, Country Head of BTI South KoreaAsking questions and On building relationships Words of wisdommaking change Relationships are very, very important. Be open-minded. The company will be differentIn the beginning, you need to listen and They help you adapt to the new culture than your previous company, so embrace theobserve, but you also need to learn about and business environment faster. In terms difference and be positive. Your views andyour new company as quickly as possible— of the relationship with your new boss, try thoughts are more important than anything else.and asking questions is a good way to to share and be as open as possible, evendo that. So, you need to do two things when what you have to share is once: you need to listen and observe, If you do that, you’ll build trust quickly.but at the same time you need to ask asmany questions as possible to settle in.Before making or suggesting any big changes,make sure you really know the companyand culture first. After that, you would bebetter off showing and presenting your ideasand thoughts methodically. You shouldn’tbe in a rush to change until you knowexactly what affect the change will have. 18
  19. Wanna Assavakarint, Country Head of BTI ThailandAsking questions and On building relationships Words of wisdommaking change There are four key things that should be the Focus on the task at hand, yet pay attentionThe first six months is the time to foundation of any relationship at work: to the long-term objectives. Take yourlearn about the new organization, the responsibilities seriously and, the culture and its people. 1. Don’t get involved in office politics And last but not least, do yourself what you would demand of your employees.The key thing to avoid during this phase 2. Be genuine and be true to who you the making of constant comparisons 3. Respect people at all levelswith your previous organization. It is thetime to move on and thrive in your new 4. Focus on the tasks you are responsible forenvironment—and this requires acceptance and deliver results (generally, managersthat things won’t be the same. prefer people who actually perform rather than people who talk aboutIt is fine to voice new ideas in your first six performance that never gets delivered).months, however, I believe that it’s better towait until you have a deeper understanding ofthe company before you push for big changes. 19
  20. Pauline Ng, Country Head of BTI MalaysiaAsking questions and On building relationships Words of wisdommaking change Different people require different levels of My advice is to be tolerant of ambiguity.It is my personal style to listen and observe first, engagement. So, when starting out in a new Analyse situations, but have the courage toand that is typically what I do in new situations. role, I’d spend one-on-one time with the key act when a decision has to be made.However, as you step into leadership positions people who have a direct influence on theyou are also expected to take quick and decisive success of my role (which could be everyone on If you happen to be leading a team, lead byaction in some situations—the challenge is to the team!) and work my way outwards. Although example and be consistent. Trust is the key andidentify which ones these are. You cannot be spending time as a team is a given, focusing on there should be no doubt that every memberthe ‘newbie’ for long, so I’d question as much individuals is important. of the team will act with integrity every timeas I possibly can and be aware that very quickly and do the right thing. Promoting respect andyou’ll also be expected to provide the answers. Make sure you communicate regularly with your making sacrifices for the greater good is also new boss. One of my former bosses once told critical to galvanizing teams together.Introducing some new ideas during your me that it is better to over-communicate thansettling-in phase is a good way to gauge how to under-communicate. So, if in doubt, I wouldopen the team is to change, and to understand include my boss in an email or discuss a matterwhat mechanisms are in place for pushing with him or her before sharing it with others.through a new idea. Although, for a start Communication is a two-way street, so seekI’d choose a safer idea to test versus a feedback about how you are doing and anyhigh-risk option. areas for improvement. 20
  21. referencesANZ Asia Pacific Economics, Emerging Asia Monthly, September 2011 21
  22. About the AuthorAnthony Raja Devadoss is currently the Vice President—APAC with theOutsourcing & Consulting Group of Kelly Services. From network services,engineering to e-business solutions, Anthony Raja has worked in both India andMalaysia, within technical roles to the Chief Executive Officer. He has received hisBachelors degree in Science and his MBA in Marketing & Postgraduate Diplomain Computing. He holds membership in various local and international associationssuch as the MIM, Human Capital Institute & Association of Career Professionals International. He isthe Head of Policy Enablement & Government Liaison with Outsourcing Malaysia and a memberof the Industry Advisory Board for the Graduate School of Business, UNIRAZAK. He has beenrecently appointed to the HR Capacity Building task force by the Ministry of Human Resources,Govt of Malaysia. Anthony is also a member of the HROA APAC Chapter Board. KellyOCGKellyOCG is the Outsourcing and Consulting Group of Fortune 500 workforce solutions provider,Kelly Services, Inc. KellyOCG is a global leader in innovative talent management solutions in theareas of Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO), Business Process Outsourcing (BPO), ContingentWorkforce Outsourcing (CWO), including Independent Contractor Solutions, Human ResourcesConsulting, Career Transition and Organizational Effectiveness, and Executive Search.Further information about KellyOCG may be found at EXIT