Hong Kongers could be the solution to talent problems

According to the ‘Bringing Talent to Asia’ study commissioned by talent management provider Alexander Mann Solutions, Hong Kongers living and working overseas could be one of best and most accessible sources of people to boost local firms and the economy.

“Asia Pacific professionals who have moved abroad are some of the city’s best and brightest. What’s more, their time overseas has made them even more valuable, earning them in-depth expertise and experience which local firms could leverage for competitive advantage and sustained growth,” said Martin Cerullo, Managing Director, Development, APAC for Alexander Mann Solutions.

“However few organisations recognise the opportunity, and even less know how to start engaging with this large and culturally-well-suited pool of talent, let alone persuading them about the opportunities and advantages – financial and familial – that returning to work in Hong Kong can offer,” he said.

The study shows that Asia’s brain drain is continuing to impact businesses, with people moving overseas for travel (65%), work experience (45%), better pay (38%) or opportunities (38%). And, according to Cerullo, it is going to worsen over the next decade.

“There is an ever-increasing demand for talented people across Asia Pacific, and it is projected to increase significantly in the next five to ten years,” he said, noting that ‘developed Asia’s’ requirement for talent will increase by approximately 10% in the next decade, and ‘emerging Asia’s’ talent requirements will increase by up to 22.2%.

Cerullo says that workers from Asia Pacific have moved abroad for a specific reason: they want international careers, to gain international experience, and to develop their skills rapidly. But the majority of them intend to return home. And those that want to come home will do so within relatively short timeframes (around five years after they left).

“Moreover, they have a positive view of what Asia has to offer. And, above all, they are prepared to relocate for the right opportunity – if they know about it – and will welcome the right approach,” he said.

At the outset, attracting talent from abroad may appear challenging and complicated. But based on the feedback from respondents, it is more important to use the right channels and communications techniques to engage with talent than it is about throwing money at them, or flying them home in a private jet.

“When we asked workers from Asia Pacific how they look for roles, the top three responses were job boards (60%), online career sites (59%) and online professional networks (44%). These are revealing figures which employers should be aware of as they strive to attract new talent,” said Cerullo.

“Each of these channels can be utilised effectively through direct sourcing – a method by which recruiters actively use the company’s brand to reach out to and attract candidates. Employers should consider investing in training recruiters to leverage online channels to engage with candidates,” Cerullo advised.

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