battle looming within the region to keep employees on home soil.

Falling productivity and workplace performance are still the number one issue keeping Australian business leaders up at night. A quarter notes it as their primary concern, and over half (52%) rate their ability to face the challenge as either average or poor.

Local business leaders are more concerned about workplace productivity than any other country in the region, according to the annual Randstad World of Work Report, with only 17% of businesses in Malaysia, Hong Kong SAR and Singapore noting productivity as a significant concern, and 19% of Indian leaders listing it as a primary challenge.

Worryingly, Australians are also the least confident in their ability to overcome productivity challenges in the coming year. Only 5% say they are in an excellent position to improve workplace performance.

While workforce productivity has been an issue facing business leaders for several years, the rapid growth of neighbouring economies means workforce issues need to be a primary focus for business leaders.

As a result of the growth trajectory of Asia-Pacific economies and regional business sectors, the responsibility of local business leaders is to ensure their organisation is a high performing, positive and productive workforce.

The increasing appetite between neighbouring countries for motivated talent further highlights the importance of this.

As a response to the growth of opportunities for Australian workers to move within the region, local businesses will need to point their efforts toward keeping talent within the country.

thus, workforce and talent management must become a significant business consideration within the coming year to maintain productivity levels.

The World of Work research, commissioned by Randstad, also highlights a fight for talent that could be brewing within the Asia Pacific region.

Managers in China (18%), India (18%), Malaysia (23%), Singapore (22%) and Hong Kong SAR (26%) all noted that finding staff to foster growth plans was the biggest challenge facing their business, and all were confident in their ability to attract employees.

This fact is not lost on local business leaders, with almost two thirds (63%) saying they are concerned about attracting high calibre employees. In contrast, 67% say they are worried about their ability to attract talented middle managers into their organisation.

To counter this increased competition for workers, organisations need to look at what their employees value in the workplace and incorporate these into the heart of business and talent management plans.

Employee engagement and satisfaction are critical drivers in countering competition amongst workers.

This can be achieved by ensuring employees work in a challenging, rewarding, supportive, and enjoyable environment where their performance is valued and recognised. 

A pay rise is not always the biggest motivator for employees.

If employees are happy to go to work and receive recognition for their performance, inspirational leaders lead them; they see a clear career path progression.

If they have flexibility at work to cater to personal commitments, engagement and success will naturally follow. 

Randstad’s research shows that 63% of Australians respond to flexible working options as the prime consideration in choosing a workplace.


  • training and development programs (54%)
  • leadership opportunities (41%)
  • competent recognition (22%) is among the essential considerations for Australian employees.
A man and a woman conversing in a meeting room
A man and a woman conversing in a meeting room

strategic talent management – a game-changer for 2014

In a worrying trend, the concern about attracting workers hasn’t led to an increased focus on workforce planning or leadership development, with 82% of businesses saying they only plan their workforce a year or less in advance.

Over half (56%) of businesses admit to devoting 10% or less of their planning time to workforce strategies, while 76% don’t use the latest developments in workforce analytics to source and retain employees.

Businesses need to be more severe about workforce planning and talent analytics and invest in strengthening their employer brand if they remain an attractive proposition in Australia and throughout the region.

There are upcoming talent acquisition blockers.

Business leaders who want to differentiate themselves from local and international competition advantageously will start prioritising workforce planning and analytics.

Reluctance to invest time in workforce planning strategies may hinder the ability to attract talented employees to fill pipelines for critical roles and leadership in the future.

Over half (51%) of businesses in Malaysia, 42% in India and 31% of organisations in China spend 30% or more of their planning time considering workforce strategies. This extra effort could draw high potential employees out of Australia.

Australian companies are no longer the only competitors to pose a threat. Organisations must continuously keep track of international developments and thoroughly understand how these developments may attract talent overseas, away from their operations. 

 Australian businesses must continue to increase efforts toward their strategies if they wish to keep up with the development of workforce planning within the Asia Pacific region. If not, they run the risk of being left behind.

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