How to Attract Top Talent in Emerging Markets

While the U.S. economy sputters, other economies around the world are surging — especially in emerging markets like South America and Asia. Economic opportunities, coupled with a shortage of skilled labor in these markets, have intensified the global war for talent. So, how can global companies create a competitive differentiator for themselves?

Significant career opportunities, better job titles and non-cash compensation are often more compelling than money alone to talented candidates in emerging markets. Companies that want to compete for — and retain — the best talent must offer the same commitment to them that they are asking from them. The companies building the most competitive global workforces during the next decade will make a solid, long-term investment in employee development.

Many companies are already doing this. PricewaterhouseCoopers’ 14th annual “Global CEO Survey,” published in February, reports that 65 percent are moving to more non-financial rewards for motivation and more than 50 percent indicate that improving skills within the talent pool is a central part of their retention strategy.

Here are three ways companies can attract top talent in emerging markets:

1. Continuously develop communication skills. A command of business English, used by business professionals who encounter English as part of their work, is required to succeed in a global economy. Yet, many potential job candidates in emerging markets who could otherwise work at multinational corporations are found unsuitable because of their lack of adequate language skills, according to McKinsey Global Institute in its “The Emerging Global Labor Market” report.

Top talent will flock to employers that offer the opportunity to rapidly develop and improve business English communication skills. With such tools as on-demand and software-as-a-service — including mobile offerings — continuous improvement of business English can simply become part of the job.

2. Expand talent mobility with virtual opportunities. Globalization is fueling mobility, but expensive relocation strategies touch only a few talented employees. Integrating virtual cross-border opportunities into positions drives the acquisition of a global skill set. It’s also an effective approach to developing employees and opening up opportunities for future leadership positions. Virtual meeting environments, instant messaging, Voice-over Internet Protocols (VoIP) and social networks are just a few of the virtual collaboration tools companies can use to achieve this goal.

3. Integrate e-mentoring and e-coaching. Mentoring and coaching have had historic success in workplace development at every level. The combination of one-to-one focus, trusted professional guidance and individual relationship building leads to faster individual growth and stronger company loyalty. More than any other generation, today’s global workforce responds to collaborative mentoring programs over periodic, top-down reviews and evaluations. Virtual mentoring programs that leverage a worldwide network of e-mentors increase a company’s ability to partner their top talent with well-matched mentors regardless of location.

A commitment to long-term employee and career development can be a competitive differentiator for attracting talent in emerging markets because it ensures that the people executing the company’s business strategy have the ability to communicate, collaborate and operate effectively in today’s global economy.

Mahesh Ram is the CEO of GlobalEnglish Corp., a company that works on business English communication with global enterprises and professionals. He can be reached at