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To Be or Not to Be…… Mobile

Mobility seems to be the latest buzz word in Asia for HR talent. On a daily basis we are discussing the best and the brightest HR leaders — in the region with CHROs and many common questions arise. Have they worked outside of their home market? Have they completed assignments in Europe or the U.S? Were they educated outside of Asia? Are they mobile in the future?

A Fresh Perspective

The logic makes sense – those with time outside of the Asian market have been exposed to new ideas and different ways of thinking. They have seen the bigger picture and can come back with a perspective that would never have been gained working in one market. Those who are happy to relocate keep the flow of talent moving while gaining valuable international understanding. Excellent – obviously we just need all of the HR leaders in the region to relocate en masse. Once you have ticked off your global experience you are set….however there is a catch.

Staying Close to Home

Mobility with people moving out of Asia is low – it is creeping up within the region but it’s still very low. This is partly for family reasons, personal preference and schooling, but there is another underlying reason for this lack of interest in relocation from Asia. Frankly, why would anyone here want to move to Europe or the U.S? The quality of life for many in Hong Kong, Singapore, Tokyo and Shanghai is as good if not better than anywhere else in the world. Until recently China was tracking double digit growth, and although it has slowed down lately, 7.5% growth indicates that there is still momentum in the country. In addition, there are so many emerging markets in this region and from an HR perspective this can be both challenging and exciting. Myanmar has only just opened up to the world, and both Vietnam and Indonesia are large markets with significant potential — the party seems to be here.

Moving Forward

So what is going to change this? As far as we can tell, one solution for companies is to bring the role to Asia, if possible. Matthew Chapman our CEO commented, “We have seen a jump in international HR roles in the region over the last 18 months.” He also indicated “There is a shortage of talent in Asia with true global experience, which means there are great development roles for the top Asia HR leaders who are not mobile and might never have that chance unless they moved.”

Secondly, support for inter-Asia movement helps. Someone with experience in China who has also lived in Singapore or Hong Kong sets themselves apart. It’s still in the region but the ‘lived and worked’ experience is noticeable. We recently heard of a short term ‘commuting assignment’ for someone who spent the week in Singapore and weekends in Vietnam. It was expensive for the company but it got the desired result and embedded that individual in the Singapore market while they balanced their family life. Companies need to be open to innovative solutions to help employees gain the broader perspective.

We do have a number of clients in Asia who are encouraging and delivering on international movement and they are reaping the benefits of this investment. Stefanie Cross Wilson, International President based in LA feels this will be the future. “The next generation of CHROs will have to understand Asia and especially emerging markets ‘hands on.’ Business leaders will be focused on this — simply relying on developed regions will not give them the results they want,”

This is great news for those who want to keep Asia as their home and plot a course to be a CHRO one day. Unfortunately, unless it’s with a company headquartered in Asia, it will likely require mobility in the future. There is an argument to say that a big component of HR is leading change management, and relocating is one of the biggest changes a person can make…..maybe it’s best to do it sooner rather than later!

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Key Contributors:

Matthew Chapman

Founder

Global Management
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Global Management

Matthew Chapman

Founder

Matthew (Matt) Chapman is the Founder of ChapmanCG. Matt oversees ChapmanCG’s future strategy, innovation and image across the globe. He also personally provides HR search and career counsel to HR leaders whose careers have grown alongside ChapmanCG — some of whom are now the biggest HR names in the world.

He has also created the Thrive HR Exchange, a global community platform for people leaders and HR professionals to find and exchange inspiration, ideas and insights. Discover some of his interviews with HR leaders here.

Matt has a Bachelor of Commerce in Accounting and Business Law from the University of New South Wales, Australia. He is a Singapore Citizen and divides his time between Asia Pacific, the Americas and EMEA.

Matt is a wellness, self-improvement and fitness addict. He has completed six desert, 250km ultra-marathons in Chile, China, Egypt, Antarctica, Namibia and Madagascar.

EA Registration Number: R1111550 Licence Number: 08S3543

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Stefanie Cross-Wilson

President and COO

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Stefanie Cross-Wilson

President and COO

Stefanie Cross-Wilson is President and COO at ChapmanCG, based in Los Angeles. Along with Ben Davies, Stefanie is responsible for the day-to-day running of ChapmanCG. She also leads complex HR searches globally for ChapmanCG’s top clients.

Before joining ChapmanCG, Stefanie was President, Recruitment & Talent Management for North America at Hudson (NASDAQ: HSON). Prior to that she lived and worked in Asia for over 20 years, most recently as Hudson’s Asia CEO.

Stefanie has worked extensively with leading multinational employers across a broad range of geographies and industries. Working closely with HR and business leadership teams, she advises on the development and implementation of best practice HR and Talent strategies.

Stefanie is originally from Chicago and a graduate of Sydney University in Australia. She is an international speaker and subject matter expert on global Human Resources and Talent Acquisition trends, and working cross-culturally.

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