Global Talent Update – September 2023

EMEA

TikTok operations are underway at the first of its three European data centers, part of the popular Chinese-owned app’s effort to ease Western fears about privacy risks. The video sharing app said it began transferring European user information to a data center in Dublin. Two more data centers, another in Ireland and one in Norway, are under construction, TikTok said in an update on its plan to localize European user data, dubbed Project Clover.

TikTok has been under scrutiny by European and American regulators over concerns that sensitive user data may end up in China. TikTok is owned by ByteDance, a Chinese company that moved its headquarters to Singapore in 2020.

Earlier this year TikTok unveiled its plan to store data in Europe, where there are stringent privacy laws, after a slew of Western governments banned the app from official devices. NCC Group, a British cybersecurity company that is overseeing the project, will check data traffic to make sure that only approved employees can access limited data types and will also carry out real-time monitoring to detect and respond to suspicious access attempts.

Read more at TikTok’s Irish data center up and running as European privacy project gets under way | AP News.

ASIA PACIFIC

Workers in Asia are spending the most time on “performative work” — in other words, focusing on appearing busy more than doing real, productive work. That’s according to a new global survey from Salesforce subsidiary Slack and research firm Qualtrics, which pulled data from more than 18,000 desk workers, including executives.

Performative work includes spending a lot of time in meetings where teams present achievements rather than making decisions or addressing issues. The survey found that employees from India (43%), Japan (37%) and Singapore (36%) reported spending more of their time on such work than the global average (32%).

The report also highlighted that more than half of respondents said the best way for employers to support productivity is through flexible schedules, with 36% opting for flexible locations. When it comes to returning to the office, workers consider having “a sense of community” and brainstorming as a team “more productive” than engaging in tasks that can be done at home. Microsoft’s latest research echoed that sentiment — 84% of global employees said they would be motivated to go to the office if they could socialize with their colleagues, which they valued more than a better work set-up.

Read more at Employees in Asia are spending the most time looking busy at work | CNBC.

THE AMERICAS

According to a report by the Ottawa Business Journal, the pressing issue hampering growth and economic stability for local Canadian businesses is often people, a major issue covered in the 2023 Welch LLP Business Growth Survey. Increased global mobilization of skilled workers has become an important topic and, along with the Great Resignation and more baby boomers leaving the workforce, Ottawa is relying heavily on newcomers to fill labour market needs.

There is, however, a large portion of the population whose skills are underutilized because they are not working in their trained profession. Newcomers to Canada, often internationally educated and/or trained professionals, face many barriers to practicing their professions and often end up working in positions that do not use the skills sorely needed.

The problem is how best to match newcomers’ skill sets to businesses and organizations looking for qualified talent. The inherent difficulties with integrating immigrants into the workforce are layered and complex and require a multipronged approach to finding solutions. On the government side, there is a need for additional funding for coaching and mentoring programs, creating pathways that provide much easier opportunities for newcomers to build on their existing professional skills so they can accelerate to positions that maximize their talents. Businesses can help by investing in a positive, inclusive and healthy work culture that allows newcomers to feel accepted and thrive.

Read more at Integrating immigrants into the workforce fosters business and economic growth | Ottawa Business Journal.