Asia Pacification and the impact on Australia

Asia Pacification and the impact on Australia

Due to cost and geographical pressures, not to mention the seemingly unlimited potential of the Asian market, many international businesses have become conspicuous by their local absence. But what is the impact from a talent perspective?


No, not the latest release from the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, but a process that has seen more and more regional head offices relocate to the likes of China and Singapore, with Australia fast becoming a transnational outpost to many global businesses. This has clearly been happening for over a decade, but what does it mean for people based in Australia?

There is a bottle neck of top talent unable to move overseas which is continually constricted by the next generation of leaders looking to usurp their former managers.

Brand, no longer a means of talent attraction

Brand loyalty is being challenged at the retailer level, but the shift to private label in the supermarkets is not being matched from a career perspective. There is still a desire to work for brands, that makes introducing yourself at a barbecue a little easier.

Are the old adages of the superbrand providing the most engaged workforces, the most complex and interesting opportunities and leading the entire industry’s strategic direction, as redundant as many of the big brand’s former employees?

There is no doubt the big, international brands, especially in FMCG, still largely provide a working environment that is ‘younger’ and ‘funkier’ than many local, industrial or simply less sexy businesses. But is that enough to retain top talent for longer than a few years? Think impact, not size.

Given these changes, I would encourage everyone that is currently considering a career change to investigate what impact a potential role could have on the business rather than assuming the bigger the business, the better the opportunity. Executing a strategy for a million-dollar project is unlikely to provide the challenge, opportunity and satisfaction compared to a project in the thousands that you create. Whether it is supply chain, procurement, engineering or marketing, the opportunity to shape the future cannot be underestimated and is far more likely to get you a seat on the ELT later in life.

Therefore, don’t limit yourself to businesses whose brands you know, as the chance to be truly strategic is often lurking in the last place you would think. Under the Bridge perhaps?

Alastair Pennie is a Supply Chain and Engineering specialist based in Sydney. If you would like more information on Asia Pacification and the impact on Australia, get in touch with Alastair on 02 8024 7141.