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Does Business Expansion Mean You Need To Look Externally?


The majority of Australian CEOs are cautiously optimistic about the potential for business growth over the coming three years, but not as optimistic as international CEOs, according to the fourth annual Global CEO Outlook, published by KPMG.

The survey found that although 92% of Australia’s CEOs were confident about growth prospects, 64% predicted top-line revenue growth for their organisation of just 2% or even less. Overseas, 42% of CEOs predicted growth of 2-5%. Interestingly, the survey also found slightly more Australian CEOs (4%) than overseas CEOs (2%) felt very confident, predicting 5-10% growth.

Most Australian CEOs predicted slow growth in headcount of less than 5% over the next three years (compared to 6-10% prediction of CEOs overseas). The good news for Australia is that CEOs said they are now proactively recruiting the talent and skills needed to facilitate changes, rather than waiting to see if they hit growth targets before hiring – unlike most overseas CEOs.

Speaking of the findings, Gary Wingrove, CEO, KPMG Australia, said, “I would say the survey shows a mood of realistic optimism among Australian CEOs compared to what may have been excessively optimistic in previous years. But it is clear that they are trying to drive growth against strong headwinds of disruption, geopolitics, cyber threats and other strategic issues.”

“It is encouraging that nearly 80% of our CEOs saw new and emerging markets as important for their expansion, with the emphasis mostly on Asia-Pacific and secondly, eastern Europe. Emerging markets experts were regarded as the second most important workforce capability to support growth and I believe it is critical that Australian businesses look outwards to the world. This is a notable change from previous years’ surveys when most have given priority to their existing domestic markets,” he said. Read more from the Global CEO Outlook here.

How Can You Look Outwards?

If you’re looking for growth on the international stage, it will help to gain international insights about the marketplace you’re targeting. Other than investing in market research, there are a couple of very effective ways you can do this and bolster your workforce in the process:

  • You can send your existing local employees overseas to help grow your international presence; or
  • You can employ international workers with the skills, international knowledge and contacts you need to gain an understanding of your new market.

Establishing an office in another country and staffing it with both local resources and an existing Australian employee(s) will quickly give you direct access to, and information about your market. Your Australian staffer will be well positioned to ensure your corporate identity and reputation are upheld and your strategy for growth is well executed.

He or she will gain an in-depth understanding of the new market, its cultural and economic differences, as well as its unique business and government processes. Additionally, he or she will be able to build a network of suppliers that are essential for efficient growth.

Bringing international workers to work for you in Australia – whether temporarily or permanently – can be equally advantageous.

In doing so, your business will quickly gain an understanding of the cultural differences and similarities that should influence the way you do business and promote your products / services in their country. A valuable candidate may have contacts that will give you direct access to your target market or essential suppliers. Importantly for your Australian based organisation, a suitable international candidate can breathe new life and ideas into your own business culture.

Support Your Hires

Hiring staff from overseas is not straight forward. Visas are only granted for skills that cannot be adequately sourced within Australia and then there are the complexities that come with ensuring a smooth relocation – finding the employee and their family accommodation, perhaps near suitable schools, and assisting with other aspects of their move, including health and financial matters, language barriers etc can be time-consuming.

However, supporting your international hires through this process is essential to ensure a mutually beneficial arrangement.

Ayers has an Australian Government issued On Hire Labour Hire Agreement, and are the experts in the process of attaining a SBS or sponsorship visas. We take care of the entire 482 sponsorship and/or SBS process so you can focus finding the best international talent and taking your business to the next level. Talk to your Ayers consultant today.