But despite this increasing involvement, a report from the Economist Corporate Network (ECN) found CEOs feel they still need to do more.
Polling ECN’s 550 member companies across Asia, the survey found while 90% of Asia-based CEOs are raising their investment in internal talent development, most currently devote less than 20% of their time to talent-related issues.
A third of CEOs stated they spend less than 10% of their working life on talent management and development, while another third spent between 10% and 20%.
At the same time, 43% felt they should be giving more time to developing talent in their companies, and being more involved in activities such as nurturing key skills, training programmes and mentoring future leaders.
Leadership, strategic thinking, and an ability to manage cultures were cited by CEOs as the top three skills missing from their current management bench.
This desire to be more involved in talent development was coupled with the fact that one third of CEOs felt they lacked the resources or capabilities to do so internally. Close to seven out of 10 (65%) said they do not have clear metrics in place to measure the benefit gained from training programmes.
“CEOs regularly claim that people are the number one priority at their firms, yet all too often a gap exists between their rhetoric and the reality,” Justin Wood, director of ECN in South-East Asia, said.
“This is usually because of a disconnect between the CEO’s strategic vision and the implementation by HR leads.”
However, the alignment between HR and core business strategies was found to be more prevalent in Asia-based firms. Not only did Asia-based CEOs indicate their HR heads are more closely involved in strategy development than their counterparts in Europe and North America, but 89% claimed their talent management strategy was informed by and aligned with their core business strategy.
The survey suggested such a pattern may have emerged due to countries like US being less talent-constrained, leading to human capital having a less significant bearing on future strategy as compared to Asia.