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back to index backGLOBALtalk July,  2007

USA: Nearly half of CEOs tapping overseas talent

Nearly half of CEOs tapping overseas talent; cite increased difficulty finding, hiring and retaining employees.

Citing exceptional employees as the key to their success, fast-growth CEOs admit that finding, hiring and retaining qualified employees is their biggest operational challenge. This is a key reason why they are tapping overseas markets for talent, a trend that will increase over the next five years, according to Deloitte’s 2007 CEO Survey of the fastest growing companies in North America as ranked on Deloitte’s 2006 Technology Fast 500. At the same time, these CEOs are shying away from doing business outside of North America. 

The survey was conducted during the first quarter of 2007 by Deloitte’s Technology, Media & Telecommunications (TMT) Group. Deloitte’s Technology Fast 500 is an annual ranking of the fastest growing technology companies in North America based on percentage of fiscal year revenue growth over five years.

It’s not unexpected that CEOs of fast-growth companies would look offshore for the talent they need to continue growing in a tight market,” said Tony Kern, managing principal of Deloitte’s Technology Fast 500 program. What is counter-intuitive is that CEOs’ interest in selling to overseas markets is waning, with more than three-quarters of CEOs saying North America represents the best opportunity for significant growth over the next five years. Their interest in Asia Pacific dropped by half to 10 percent from last year — possibly due to intellectual property protection issues.”

Employees Contribute Most to Company Growth

Attracting Talent Remains Biggest Operational Challenge

High-quality employees are the biggest contributors to company growth for 67 percent of the CEOs surveyed, consistent with 66 percent last year. Finding, hiring and retaining qualified employees is the biggest operational challenge for 48 percent of the CEOs, up from 41 percent last year. To attract employees, 69 percent are relying on equity compensation and stock options, down from 71 percent last year. Fifty-one percent offer flexible hours, up slightly from 49 percent last year.  Training programs and educational opportunities are offered by 38 percent of the companies, up from 35 percent last year, and 31 percent provide a career path, up from 28 percent last year.

When it comes to talent, supply and demand are out of balance, making employees more like consumers,” explains Jeff Alderton, a principal of  Deloitte Consulting. And like consumers, if employees with those in-demand skills sets are not receiving the satisfaction they seek from their workplace, they will find it elsewhere – with the competition.  This will put an even greater strain on employers for available talent.”

CEOs say their companies are turning to overseas talent, with 45 percent of those surveyed saying that they are currently offshoring, and 55 percent saying they plan to offshore in the next five years. In fact, in five years, 30 percent plan to have up to 10 percent of their workers offshore; 27 percent plan to have up to 20 percent offshore; 19 percent expect to have up to 30 percent offshore; and 15 percent expect to have up to 40 percent offshore. Overall, 43 percent of the CEOs said it was critical or very important to look overseas for talent. However, even in five years, CEOs envision the vast majority of the workforce will remain in North America.

CEOs Remain Confident About Continued Growth
CEOs remain confident about company growth, with 82 percent  of those surveyed very or extremely confident. Virtually all (98 percent) said they will be hiring over the next 12 months. Thirty-seven percent say they will grow their workforce 26 to 50 percent over the next 12 months, up from 30 percent last year. Half the CEOs will grow their headcount up to 25 percent, the same as last year. Eleven percent plan to grow their headcount more than 50 percent, down from 17 percent last year.

Fifty-nine percent of the CEOs surveyed believe they will continue growing organically, up from 55 percent last year. Fifteen percent plan to acquire other companies, down from 17 percent last year. Just 7 percent plan on merging with another company, up from 6 percent.

Biggest Threat to Growth: Government Regulation
CEOs are far more concerned about government regulation and terrorism than access to capital. In fact, 34 percent of the CEOs surveyed said the biggest threat to success is excessive government regulation, followed by 19 percent who said the biggest threat was increased competition from emerging powers like China and India; and 18 percent citing terrorism. Only 9 percent were concerned about access to capital, and 10 percent expressed concern about rising interest rates.

Prescription for Growth:  Lower Interest Rates
Twenty percent of the CEOs surveyed said that lower interest rates were needed to spur growth, up from 8 percent last year, while 18 percent prescribed lower personal and corporate taxes, down from 31 percent last year.

Protecting Intellectual Property (IP) a Priority
CEOs have chosen a variety of methods to protect their valuable intellectual property. The most popular of those surveyed (40 percent) is to restrict distribution of products to markets with a strong reputation for protecting IP. They also build in IP protection to minimize theft (38 percent), hire third-party specialists to advise them on IP protection (32 percent), and train staff on measures to reduce IP theft (32 percent).

About the Technology Fast 500 CEO Survey and Program
The Technology Fast 500 CEO Survey is an annual poll administered to CEOs of companies ranked on Deloitte’s Technology Fast 500.  More than 125 CEOs responded to the 2007 Survey, which was conducted in the first quarter of 2007.  The Deloitte Technology Fast 500 is an annual ranking of the fastest growing technology companies in North America based on percentage revenue growth over five years. The 2007 Technology Fast 500 ranking will be announced in October 2007. 

To download 13-page results document ("USA: "Nearly half of CEOs tapping overseas talent" survey"), click here.

Source: Deloitte - GAI

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