It has taken a pandemic to effect unprecedented and permanent democratization of talent and opportunities, says this globalization expert.

At Globalization Partners, we are very optimistic about the opportunities brought about by businesses expanding into Asia Pacific, and South-east Asia emerging as a top choice for talent, and global talent actually seeking more opportunities in this part of the world.

Given the current realities in the post-COVID-19 world, I think there will be further democratization of talent and opportunity as “remote” becomes the new way of the world. I would like to share what we think will be four globalization and related trends in 2021:

  1. There will be an influx of companies expanding into APAC
    I am optimistic that the Asia Pacific region (APAC) is going to lead the rebound of economic growth through the exit of the pandemic. We have reached monumental success with the 10 ASEAN nations plus Australia, China, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea coming together to sign one of the world’s largest free trade agreements, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

    This commitment to multilateral trade integration gives a very strong and positive signal to international investors. I anticipate there will be a series of economic policies, tax incentives and subsidies to incentivize companies, particularly the small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to expand.

    According to the most recent Regional Economic Outlook by the International Monetary Fund, there will be ‘multispeed’ or varying degrees and speeds of recovery across the region. From where we see it, the rate of growth of APAC as a whole will be blinding comparatively to a lot of the other parts of the world.
  2. SEA will be a top option for and by entrepreneurial talent
    The South-east Asian region (SEA) has one of the largest concentrations of young, technologically savvy, and entrepreneurial talent. Companies of all shapes and sizes are already taking advantage of this talent pool.  Well-established global companies such as L’Oreal, Microsoft, and Oracle are among more than 100 entities running incubator and accelerator programs in Singapore, for instance.

    Recently, HP announced that it will set up 20 tech hubs across Southeast Asia by the end of 2020 to give opportunities to youth in underserved communities. In Singapore alone, more than 150 venture capital funds exist. In less than four years, the region has attracted US$17.69bn in funding, fostering start-up unicorns such as ride-hailing firms GoJek and Grab, and e-commerce company Lazada.

    This ferocious pace of innovation and commercial activity will make SEA a magnet for talents from other shores as well. The Singapore Economic Development Board recently announced its Tech.Pass initiative which will see some 500 technology entrepreneurs, technical experts and mentors joining the dynamic tech ecosystem. I anticipate this ‘seed’ program growing into a multitude of other opportunities such as more companies setting up shop and additional jobs being created.
  3. Companies will turn to disruptive business models
    Because of the very nature of enterprises in the region, they tend to bypass traditional technology solutions and methodologies for growth, and because of that, I think we are going to see them gravitate towards disruptive business models.

    I think there is actually going to be a pretty dramatic uptake in tapping experienced partners as they enter new markets. I also think we are going to see companies in this region dramatically grasp the opportunity that is inherent in a globally-distributed talent pool. Therefore, they are going to be looking for models by which to harness this opportunity.

    In addition, we are going to see an even more dramatic uptake in businesses, particularly the SMEs ripping cloud-based technologies and software service-based technologies to get a leg up on time to value and time to market.
  4. Remote-working will mean democratization of talent and opportunity
    We are living in a consequential moment in history: we have the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to completely redesign the way business is conducted, and we are beginning to see both employees and employers alike seize this opportunity.

    We are already seeing a democratization of opportunity and skills with the elimination of geographic location requirements when looking for team members. With companies like our own making it possible and efficient to build remote global teams, employers will be able to source diverse talent with more ease, opening more doors to find workers with skills that are historically clustered in particular regions. As a result, this will provide a competitive advantage for businesses in this new era of work.

These shifts will not only impact businesses and employees; they will inevitably impact our society in ways we might not have previously imagined.