Is Our Workforce Asia Ready?

Recent developments within the Asia Pacific region have again highlighted the importance of the manner in which Australia engages with its neighbours; economically, politically and socially.  But how well are we positioned and prepared to make the most of the benefits which accrue from our location within the region? 

Asia is the world’s largest and most rapidly growing region.  In the 1950s Asia made up some 20% of world output and by 2010 this had risen to 40%, an increase that is expected to continue.  As such it represents the major opportunity for Australian business this century. 

However, do Australian organisations (be they service, manufacturing, resource, education, finance or transport) possess the essential individual and organisational capabilities required to take advantage of these opportunities.  A workforce which is ‘Asia ready’ is seen as essential to maximising the opportunities that the Asian economic expansion offers. 

In 2012 a study was conducted by the Boston Consulting Group on behalf of Asialink (an initiative of the Myer Foundation and an affiliate of the University of Melbourne).  The research identified the following six individual and five organisational capabilities as being critical to business success in and with Asia. 

Individual capabilities: 

  • Sophisticated knowledge of Asian markets/environments.
  • Extensive experience operating in Asia.
  • Long term trusted Asian relationships.
  • Ability to adapt behaviour to Asian cultural contexts.
  • Capacity to deal with government.
  • Useful level of language proficiency.

 Organisational capabilities: 

  • Leadership committed to an Asia-focused strategy.
  • Customised Asian talent management.
  • Customised offering/value proposition based on customer insights.
  • Tailored organisational design with tendency to local autonomy.
  • Supportive processes to share Asian learnings.

How does your organisation, division and team rate in each of these areas?  Is it time to perhaps look at deepening the skill and experience base to ensure you have a truly ‘Asia ready’ workforce?

Rohan A. Carr
March 2014

Did you like this? Share it:

Comments are closed.