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COVID-19 fundamentally altered how CFOs hire and manage workforce

The COVID-19 pandemic has fundamentally altered how CFOs hire and manage their workforce, a new global survey has found. 

The survey, by CFO Research and Globalization Partners, 83% of Asia-Pacific respondents said the global pandemic has altered their views on hiring and workforce management.

It found almost all (94%) of respondents from Asia Pacific have a growth strategy involving expansion into countries where they do not currently operate, while 89% altered their views on a remote work model.

Forty-eight percent of Asia-Pacific respondents said they will attract new talent confined to where they are based while 43% said they will attract new talent unbound by geographic restrictions.

The February 2021 survey of chief financial officers, chief executive officers and other senior finance executives also cites a common theme that they are prioritising the need to build resiliency and although optimistic, disclose that their businesses are still stabilising and in recovery.

Optimism towards organisational performance in 2021 varies across the regions. Asia-Pacific (APAC) CFOs are more optimistic about success in 2021 than their counterparts in the UK and North America. Sixty-five percent of APAC respondents indicated that they expect to exceed goals and expectations in 2021, compared to 46% for UK and 47% for North America. 

"The ongoing rollout of COVID-19 vaccines, investments flowing into the region, and momentum gained as companies accelerated their digital investments during the pandemic all these are contributing to positive sentiments toward business in 2021," says Charles Ferguson, general manager, Asia Pacific, Globalization Partners. 

"With the ongoing shift in the global supply chain and a renewed focus of the US, UK and EU to grow alliances with APAC markets, there is an abundance of opportunity to expect from this region," he says.

Key data from the survey found: 

CFOs are taking a global view within their hiring approaches.

Asked to describe their hiring strategy over the next 12 to 18 months as, 48% of APAC respondents say they will attract new talent where they are based while 43% say they want to attract new talent that is unbounded by the geographic restrictions of their company's operating model.

APAC CFOs have a high degree of interest in tapping into a more cost-effective, global talent pool, a concept favoured by half of those surveyed --and capturing market share through global expansion, which is favoured by 61%.

CFOs have altered workforce management strategies.

Seventy-four percent of the survey respondents in APAC anticipate operating remote and/ or hybrid workforce models in the next 12 to 18 months. 

Eighty-three percent of executives also say the COVID-19 pandemic fundamentally altered the way they think about hiring and workforce management and 89% say it altered how they consider remote employees or the work-from-anywhere model.

CFOs are deeming global expansion as a top priority in the next 12 to 18 months. 

Implementing a strategy for global expansion and presence was deemed a top priority in the next 12 to 18 months for 52% of APAC executives, compared to 38% of the EMEA executives and 36% of the North American executives. 

Fifty-five percent of the APAC CFOs that are expecting to achieve their goals in 2021 are already engaging a global PEO, while 25% plan to use a global PEO within one year to support their international business strategy and 17% plan to engage a global PEO within three years.