No talent in Asia??

Ah, the never ending drum beat on the “war on talent”…

In the 21 June issue of Newsweek, Mac Margolis writes of all doom and gloom for Asia, no good talent to find. “Executives Wanted” is the titled article. Read it yourself.

His premise is that companies are wringing their hands because in Asia there is just not enough good talent, and a crisis is looming. Haven’t we heard this for the past 10, or maybe 20 years?? It gets worse.. I’m not sure where he gets his stats.

Let me quote a couple:

Some 50,000 multinationals open for business in China every year..In India, businesses are expanding 30 percent a year.

China has 1.3 million young engineers, but only 160,000 are skilled enough to be hired by multinationals, according to McKinsey & Company.

China is forecast to need some 75,000 managers through 2020, only 5,000 are currently available on the domestic job market.

He goes on to quote Vijay Govindarajan, from Dartmouth’s Tuck School:

In India, we are very good at filling our heads with facts and technical problems, but we lack theoretical skills, negotiation, political savvy, and the ability to work in teams.

I wonder what his students think of that..

I’m astounded by both the statistics which I don’t believe but not surprised by the old and tired clichés of how there is not enough good talent in Asia, and that we (whoever “we”) are facing a crisis..

Just the opposite. As someone who has lived in Asia for nearly 2 decades, and deals with senior talent all the time, here is what I think:
[list]

  • There is very good talent in Asia, no shortage that I see. My problem is that I don’t have enough jobs for the people I come across; cross-cultural, savvy, functionally knowledgeable and ambitious.
  • Their English is fluent, they can speak Mandarin, Bahasa Indonesia, Gujarati, Thai or Korean.
  • Many have gone to very good schools, whether in Lebanon, Japan, Thailand, Singapore, or Massachusetts.
  • [/list]

    Demographics dictates, and in Asia, there is more than enough talent. The perennial question (which does keep [good] headhunters busy) has to do with fit, culture, future and corporate strategy and growth of talent. But that is not the same as saying there is a glut.

    There ain’t, not in this part of the world..

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