Nov 8, 2012

Singapore - Emerging markets on companies' radar, study shows

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Companies across the globe are planning to send more staff on overseas assignments to emerging markets as growth slows in major developed economies, a study has found.

China is the most common destination, followed by Africa and India, said a Global Mobility Effectiveness study released yesterday by Ernst & Young.

Nick Pond, Asia-Pacific human capital leader at Ernst & Young, told a briefing yesterday that there was also a net inflow of talent into economies such as Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan and Malaysia.

Singapore was also seeing a net inflow of talent, particularly in the banking sector and consumer products industry, he added.

About 2 per cent of the study's more than 520 respondents were Singapore firms, Ernst & Young said in a statement to The Straits Times.

It found nearly half of the respondents, or 48 per cent, deployed more staff last year to growth markets compared with other parts of the world.

There is no basis for comparison with last year's study as Ernst & Young did not ask companies this question last year.

This trend is likely to continue, with 60 per cent of respondents saying that they expect to deploy more staff to these growth markets over the next two to three years.

Reflecting the increasing priority that companies worldwide are placing on emerging markets, a significant percentage of the staff being sent there are senior employees.

Of the staff sent to the four Bric countries - Brazil, Russia, India and China - between 44 per cent and 59 per cent are senior employees. Most companies surveyed added that assignments to these countries were primarily long-term.

Dina Pyron, global director of human capital at Ernst & Young, noted that the flow of talent often follows the flow of capital, which is moving to Asia as the United States and euro-zone nations flounder.

But Ernst & Young noted that the influx of people into emerging markets was "pushing existing global mobility policies, processes and systems to the limit".

Financial and reputational losses from inadvertently breaching regulations remain a real threat and increase the risk profile of a company, it said.

It noted that nearly 70 per cent of the companies surveyed said they did not have a "control framework" to manage risks arising from payroll, tax and social security compliance.

Melissa Tan

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