THE WHOLE WORLD IN OUR HANDS?
Globalisation is viewed by top executives at leading organisations around the world as an inevitable, but positive, business challenge that is here to stay and growing rapidly, according to an in-depth study of business leaders revealed by EquaTerra and World 50. The findings also reveal that politically – led trade protectionism or a major economic downturn are seen by study participants as the only major threats to the continued growth of globalisation.
Yet, despite these perceived threats, 90% of the 217 executives questioned viewed globalisation as inevitable, indicating that trade protectionism or an economic downturn will not ultimately stop, or even slow, globalisation’s expansion. Seventy-two per cent agreed that it is likely to have a positive overall impact on their companies. Over a third also saw increased globalisation as a challenge, but one that will be outweighed by opportunities such as the chance to expand into new markets, or to improve their company’s brand exposure and sales.
The ‘EquaTerra Globalisation Study’, conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit on behalf of EquaTerra, a leading business advisory firm, and World 50, a knowledge sharing community for C-level executives, assessed in detail the perceptions of global competition and the challenges of expanding ones’ global footprint, according to over 200 leading executives and senior managers from the Americas, Western Europe and the Asia Pacific.
Regardless of the apparent overall optimism, 44% of respondents also made clear that finding and retaining high-quality talent is their number one concern over the next three years. This was true amongst study participants at all levels and across all geographic regions. Notably, executives based in North America were 12% more likely than their European counterparts to cite globalisation as making it more difficult to find and retain local staff with required skills and experience, highlighting current issues within the tight North American labour market.
While finding and retaining talent is still a big issue for those in Western Europe, their two primary challenges resulting from globalisation are funding expansion into new markets followed by growth of competition.
Increased competition from global regions was a concern for over 36% of respondents suggesting that the two main challenges that executives are currently uneasy about as a result of increased globalisation, could have both a positive impact for organisations (access to lower cost high-quality talent), as well as a negative one (more competition).
“These study results give us a detailed and realistic gauge of how executives perceive globalisation, and what decisions they are making in reaction to that. It is certainly clear that globalisation is fast changing the dynamics of the world economy and this, in turn is driving a worldwide quest for talent across all business sectors” said Phil Morris, Managing Director at EquaTerra Europe.
In spite of these challenges, participants worldwide said that they planned to use globalisation initiatives to make business processes more efficient and effective (54%); invest in foreign markets (46%); accelerate their globalisation plans (41%); redesign product and service development processes (40%) and locate and recruit local, qualified talent (35%).