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Disruption in the 2016 Talent Market: Are Businesses Prepared?

Disruption in the 2016 Talent Market: Are Businesses Prepared?

If you want to know the key to finding and keeping the best people in 2016, you’d do well to start by getting comfortable with this one word: disruption.

This one word will influence and steer much of the 2016 workplace and its talent, and in more ways than one.

For a start, new Hudson data has the talent year ahead shaping up as one of the most mobile and fluid in recent times.

The Hudson Report: Forward Focus 2016, which for over 10 years has tracked employer hiring intentions, has this year expanded to include data on employees and their career plans, providing a complete picture of the 2016 Asia Pacific talent market.

Set for full release in February, the 28-page report, based on research from over 15,000 employers and employees, details an Asia Pacific employment market so primed for change and disruption that we’re calling it “liquid”.

Employers are set to add headcount at an increasing rate: in Australia the research shows net hiring intentions at a four-year high, in New Zealand at a six-year high, while China is up 2%, Singapore up 3% and Hong Kong up 15%. The research shows employees too are yearning for change: across APAC almost three in four are today actively or passively looking for a new job, and half plan to be gone within the year.

All projections look set then for a tumultuous year of talent ahead, but against what kind of backdrop?

Against a backdrop that is just as tumultuous.

Increasingly, the military-style acronym of ‘VUCA’ – volatility, uncertainty, complexity, ambiguity – is being used to describe today’s working environment. It is a climate where change is a constant and where technology is disrupting old patterns and systems.

For organisations, the projected level of people fluidity in 2016 will hit at a time when change and complexity are already at peak levels. The question then becomes: are organisations equipped to handle intensive change? And if they’re not, how are they going to armour up?

To me, this is really around driving the talent agenda. Because no matter what industry you’re in, talent is your point of competitive advantage. If change is only going to keep coming, it will be your people who will differentiate your responses to that change, who will not only adapt but steer you through that change. And there’s nothing more important than that.

It starts with getting leadership right. Leaders must be equipped to operate effectively in the current context of their organisation, and this is especially true in the broader business environment of VUCA. Contextual leadership is key and given the pace of change today organisations need leaders who are highly comfortable with the uncomfortable. Fish rot from the head; there’s little point in an amazing team of talent if its leadership is poor.

Organisations must also embrace the era of disruption – and help their people come to the party. One key finding in the new Hudson Report is that the number one soft skill lacking in teams today, across APAC, is “driving & managing change”. It’s not enough just to find and secure the best talent now – you must arm that talent with the skills to help them succeed in a business landscape constantly in flux.

Finally, employers need to absolutely understand what it takes to attract, retain and engage the best people, and to deeply engender that knowledge in their day-to-day business.

Disruption is a fundamental game-changer in business today. It’s so fundamental it must be incorporated across all facets of an organisation – from the pointy end of leadership to the coalface and engine room of talent, and to ensure people are empowered to handle it. If they can do that, organisations will be well-placed to win in 2016.

Register your interest to receive your copy of the soon-to-be released Hudson Report: Forward Focus 2016.


Mark Steyn is CEO of Hudson Asia Pacific, responsible for establishing Hudson as the region’s pre-eminent provider of talent solutions, as well as driving growth across Hudson's three business lines: specialised recruitment, Recruitment Process Outsourcing and Talent Management.





Hudson is a global talent solutions company. We help transform the workplace and unleash the full potential of organizations and individuals. Our expert team and proprietary tools provide you with unique insights and services that help you maximize your success. Across 20 countries, we deliver a range of recruitment, talent management and recruitment process outsourcing solutions to get you and your business where you want to be.