Globalization Comes with Challenges

May 12, 2008 ( - Some 44% of executives polled in a recent survey said their key concern over the next three years is finding and retaining high-quality talent in light of the globalization of business.

A news release about the EquaTerra Globalization Study said that concern was expressed among executives at all levels and across all regions. However, North American executives were 12% more likely than their European counterparts to cite globalization as making staffing more difficult.

Increased competition from global regions was a concern for more than 36% of respondents, suggesting that the two main challenges executives are currently uneasy about as a result of increased globalization could have both a positive impact for organizations (access to lower cost high-quality talent), as well as a negative one (more competition), according to the announcement. More than a third of the executives polled saw increased globalization 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.

Some 90% of the 217 respondents viewed globalization as inevitable, indicating that trade protectionism or an economic downturn will not ultimately stop, or even slow, globalization’s expansion. Seventy two percent agreed that it is likely to have a positive overall impact on their companies.

In spite of the challenges, participants worldwide said they planned to use globalization initiatives to make business processes more efficient and effective (54%); invest in foreign markets (46%); accelerate their globalization plans (41 %); redesign product and service development processes (40%); and locate and recruit local, qualified talent (35%).

“These study results give us a detailed and realistic gauge of how executives perceive globalization, and what decisions they are making in reaction to it. It is certainly clear that globalization 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 Mark Toon, CEO, EquaTerra, in the news release.

The study was conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit on behalf of EquaTerra, a business advisory firm, and World 50, a knowledge-sharing community for executives.

The study is available here.