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8 keys to growth - What Asian businesses are looking for

Posted by Kirsten, Michael at Thursday, 04/19/2012 12:54 am
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Strategic priorities for companies in the Asia-Pacific region are changing. Driving growth and capturing new opportunities are now the central priorities for companies in Asia, and they are looking for candidates to help them do both. Specifically, they are looking for candidates who will help them:

1. Expand outwards from Asia: while many companies are clearly looking to expand into Asia-Pacific, local companies are also looking to expand out into other regions. Assisting companies based in local, emerging markets throughout Asia to grow their borders will be a key skill in high demand.

2. Access Asia’s cash reserves: banks are looking to increase margins, reduce risk and consolidate loan volumes. More international banks are seeking to increase their presence and relevance across Asia, particularly to access private cash reserves and tap into the need for business loans in the region. Banking and financial services across Asia- Pacific is likely to become more competitive as a result.

3. Increase customer value: dominant players in emerging markets (such as China Mobile, which has an estimated 600 million- plus users) face the tougher task of growing and maintaining market share amid growing competition. Instead, they will be looking for talent to make more out of their current opportunities and increase loyalty to compete with new entrants in their market.

4. Increase speed of strategic implementation/change management: companies face a competitive race to capture opportunities in the region— their talent requirements are increasingly focused on proven ability to implement large-scale change projects quickly.

5. Plug skills gaps: growing economies need talent, and particularly in APAC there are large gaps between talent needs and the availability of skilled resources. So, companies will be looking for people with the ability to train and lead others in particular fields—exceptional people management ability will be high on the list of desired skills. Understanding cultural differences and the ability to adapt leadership qualities for different markets will be critical for the leaders of the future.

6. Deliver IPOs and shareholder value: as traders and investors look for safe havens in the economic storm, experience in IPOs in the region and in delivering increased shareholder value are going to be sought-after skills.

7. Execute mergers & joint ventures: as companies look to grow market share in an often tightly regulated market, acquiring local businesses or entering into joint ventures is high on many corporate agendas. The $7.2bn deal between BP and Reliance Industries is just one of many examples of how even large organizations are managing growth in the region.

8. Improve sustainability: a rapidly urbanizing population is increasing pressure on cities, infrastructure and the environment more generally. While overall CO2 emissions from Europe and North America are decreasing, Asia-Pacific emissions are still rising substantially year-on-year. As governments implement pollution reduction schemes and tighter regulations on industry, the ability to improve productivity and reduce costs through sustainability measures will be in higher demand.

These 8 keys to growth are part of the Asian Career Guide, a new guide for career prospects within Asia. You can download a free copy here.