Talent crisis brewing in Asia-Pacific

Feb 01 2007 by Brian Amble Print This Article

Many employers in Asia-Pacific are at risk of losing their most talented people as disillusionment with career prospects and management style leads them to look for opportunities elsewhere.

A survey of more than 3,000 employees by research and consultancy firm, ISR, has found some alarmingly low levels of employee engagement, commitment and motivation in Australia, China, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand, with up to half of employees either disillusioned with their employer or completely disengaged.

Describing these disillusioned employees as 'talent-at-risk', the survey found that the situation is at its worst in Malaysia, where almost half (47 per cent) of high-flying employees said that they are no longer committed to staying with their organisation.

Of these, seven out of 10 say that they would leave their current employer as soon as they have an acceptable alternative job offer and a further 17 per cent say they want to leave but are unable to because of the state of the job market.

Singapore is closely behind Malaysia with four out of 10 talented employees falling into the 'talent-at-risk' bracket, eight out of 10 of whom say that they will leave as soon as they can.

Meanwhile, the survey puts around a third of talent in Australia 33 per cent, Thailand (32 per cent) and China (31 per cent) as being 'at risk'.

But with nearly one in five (19 per cent) of high flying employees fully disengaged, China has the largest number of talented people who are not motivated at work or committed to staying with their employer.

So what are the factors that are driving so many of Asia-Pacific's most talented employees to consider heading for the door marked "exit"?.

According to ISR's Yves Duhaldeborde , the management style of an organisation has a considerable bearing on a decision to stay of leave, with more people likely to consider leaving if the management style is adverse to risk, directive and reactive.

Furthermore, high flying employees expect leaders to foster an environment that encourages people to constantly learn, treat all employees with respect and make decisions that are consistent with the values of the organisation.

But the research suggests that a company's approach to career development and training has the strongest influence over whether talented employees are engaged, motivated and committed at work.

High flying employees enjoy being at the heart of an organisation that focuses on long-term success. The also prefer to work for companies that have formal succession planning and talent management programmes.

"This research should act as a wake-up call to companies in Asia-Pacific," Duhaldeborde said. "The risk of losing their most talented staff is serious and immediate, and can only worsen as the economy grows in the region.

"To help address the issue organisations should consider taking steps towards fostering a more entrepreneurial environment and towards ensuring that the long-term ambitions of their most talented staff can be realised."