Talent retention “will get harder under ASEAN”

Author: PM editorial | Date: 13 Oct 2015

Single market will increase mobility and may lead to use of quotas

The creation of the ASEAN economic community at the end of the year is a game-changer for the region according to HR professionals in Asia..
 
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is a group of 10 nations in the region that includes Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines and Vietnam. At the end of 2015, it will take a significant step in its development when it establishes a competitive single market and production base known as the ASEAN economic community (AEC), similar in principle to the EU..
 
The formation of the AEC is built on five core elements – free flow of goods, services, investment, skilled labour and freer flow of capital..
 
Thanks to increased business activity, talent in the ASEAN region will have more options and greater opportunities to move across borders. With this greater flow of labour, HR experts predict some organisations may find it harder to attract and retain their top talent, putting pressure on compensation..
 
Companies most affected are expected to be small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), followed by Western multinationals. Talent attraction, retention and growth will all become critical issues for employers in the region keen to capitalise on the new economic community while limiting the downsides to their workforces..
 
Prithvi Shergill, chief human resource officer at HCL Technologies, said: “We believe that work today goes to the people rather than people going to work, so it is good to see that barriers are coming down. The ability to create more mobility with less friction will clearly deliver greater growth.’’.
 
But some HR professionals fear that individual governments may not be as willing to welcome foreign labour into their countries. One CHRO said: “We have seen the Singapore government put in foreign worker quotas to stem the flow of immigrant labour and there is the danger that other countries may do the same. Some may also be looking at ways of encouraging their top talent to stay in their home country.’’.
 
The spotlight now falls on HR teams to embrace talent mobility to benefit from a fluid talent base. They also need to develop flexible compensation packages that work across multiple jurisdictions while revisiting their employer brand propositions..
 
Shergill added: “It’s important when you are building a multinational workforce that all employees understand the core values of the company, wherever they are based.’’