Human capital biggest problem of CEOs worldwide

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Placing the right people in the right job is the single biggest issue that top business executives have to contend with anywhere in the world, the Philippines included.

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The observation came from Bart Van Ark, executive vice president and chief economist of The Conference Board, an independent, membership organization based in New York that specializes in research and business development that brings executives together in formulating global ideas.

Van Ark was guest speaker of the Makati Business Club (MBC) and the Management Association of the Philippines (MAP) at their annual Joint Membership Meeting on Friday.

Van Ark, an expert in international comparative studies of economic performance, productivity and innovation, spoke on the topic: The Conference Board CEO Challenge 2013: The Asia Economic and Business Context, which aims to identify local, regional, and global challenges of business leaders.

The Conference Board surveyed 750 chief executive officers (CEOs), presidents and chairmen all over the world to identify the top challenges they faced in their businesses, and the five most important strategies to take in solving these issues.

According to Van Ark, the global economy is at a slow growth pace at three percent, and that “modest recovery in mature markets and slow growth of emerging markets keeps the global economy below trend.”

Mature markets such as the United States and the European Union are seen as “halfway” from recovery, while emerging markets such as China, India and Brazil are not able to keep the balance between investments and consumption, leading to a slow development in the global economy.

The question now is how businesses can grow and survive in this type of economic environment, given that an over three percent growth is not to be expected in the next five years, said Van Ark.

He presented the Top 10 global challenges of CEOs, to be able to study, compare and discuss the trends, the risks and prospects arising, and the future of the Philippine economy.

The Top 10 challenges are:

1. Human Capital
2. Operational Excellence
3. Innovation
4. Customer Relationship
5. Global, Political and Eco     nomic risk
6. Government Regulation
7. Global Expansion
8. Corporation and Reputation
9. Sustainability
10. Trust in Business

Human Capital is the biggest challenge because more leaders realize that the right people in their business serve as the driving force to company growth and success.

In the Philippines, the top five problems CEOs face are: Human Capital, which was still on top of its list, followed by Operational Excellence, Customer Relationship, Government Regulation and Innovation.

Van Ark recommended that businesses cooperate in “nation-building,” where leaders should be responsible to develop future talents and quality employees. He further suggested that getting rid of temporary employees, but said that this could only work if business leaders are willing to invest on people.

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