Business leaders reveal the lowest confidence globally in their workforce and leadership teams; likely to hire more diverse executives to deliver growth based on digital transformation, innovation and product or service diversification

BEIJING, MUMBAI, SEOUL, SINGAPORE, SYDNEY, TAIPEI, AND TOKYO, 1 DECEMBER, 2022 – Boyden, a premier leadership and talent advisory firm with more than 75 offices in over 45 countries, reports on its annual global executive talent research. Asia-Pacific respondents reveal the lowest confidence globally in the workforce and leadership teams, and place less emphasis on human capital than other regions.

Just 35 percent of respondents are very confident or confident in the overall workforce, versus the global average of 55 percent; 45 percent are very confident or confident in the leadership team, versus the global average of 60 percent. Delivering growth, driven by (i) digital transformation; (ii) innovation; and (iii) product or service diversification could be difficult.

The global study, Strengthening the human-centric core of Industry 5.01, How can organisations thrive in a complex world of risk? explores perspectives on risk among CEOs, boards and other senior leaders, alongside executive talent trends, priorities and investment.

William J. Farrell, Managing Partner and Board Director, Boyden, Asia-Pacific Practice Leader, Financial Services and Industrial, says, “There is less of a focus on the human-centric core of Industry 5.0 in this region as business leaders deal with geopolitical risk, supply chain disruption and global economic volatility. Despite this, Industry 5.0 presents opportunities for growth, and the tech sector needs to be stronger for businesses to compete globally. We are also concerned by lower confidence in leadership teams; as business cycles get faster, assessing capabilities and creating high performing teams is an important part of senior-level talent management”.

In the tech sector, the top internal risk is a weak leadership team. Across all sectors, the top internal risks are identified as (i) employee burnout; (ii) rising business costs; and (iii) weak leadership team. The top external risks of (i) geopolitics; (ii) global economic volatility; and (iii) supply chain disruption are taking a major toll on business leaders and executives. The most valuable soft leadership skills are therefore identified as ‘inspiring teams,’ ‘driving change’ and distinctive to Asia-Pacific, ‘self-leadership’.  

In addressing a need to strengthen executive talent, 91 percent of respondents identify both health & safety and technology/cloud/ cybersecurity talent, followed by marketing & sales, at 90 percent, the top three priority areas. This contrasts with findings in 2021, when health & safety was the lowest priority and technology/cloud/ cybersecurity was fourth priority.

Respondents recognise a tough market: 41 percent identify ‘competing for the right talent’ as a top three driver of structural change; it is the top driver in healthcare & life sciences and professional services. Looking through 2023, 67 percent expect recruitment challenges, up from 58 percent in 2021; and 67 percent expect retention challenges, up from 48 percent in 2021.

Alun Parry, Partner, Boyden Australia, shares realities in the market commenting, “The baptism that many executives experienced during the pandemic, in terms of breadth of exposure and the pressure of leadership in its many guises, is playing out in the candidate market. As the post-covid race for talent continues, leadership tenure is getting shorter. Opportunities are multiplying as organisations compete to acquire leaders who can steer already vulnerable organisations through the global economic maelstrom.”

Nevertheless, respondents expect to increase investments in leadership development and hiring more diverse executives, driven by the need for different executive skill sets, particularly in healthcare & life sciences and professional services.

Recruitment will be driven by sign-on bonuses, transport allowance and performance-related pay; retention will be driven by leadership development; recognition of family care/ responsibilities and stock options.

Read the full report: Strengthening the human-centric core of Industry 5.0: Asia-Pacific.

The Fifth Industrial Revolution, also known as Industry 5.0, is a new phase of industrialisation, whereby humans work alongside advanced technologies and AI-powered robots to enhance processes within the workplace. Source: The Manufacturer. Source:

About the research

This research was conducted in Q2 2022 among senior executives worldwide from publicly-quoted, private/independent, private/family owned, social enterprise and PE-backed organisations. A total of 640 complete responses include nearly 20 percent from Asia-Pacific, where respondents are 38 percent board/president/CEOs; 28 percent SVP, division or country heads; and 24 percent functional leaders.

About Boyden

Boyden is a premier leadership and talent advisory firm with more than 75 offices in over 45 countries. Our global reach enables us to serve client needs anywhere they conduct business. We connect great companies with great leaders through executive search, interim management and leadership consulting solutions. For further information, visit

Joanna Goncalves

Global Senior Director of Marketing
T: +1 416 214 4208

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