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2030 outlook: 6 trends shaping the future of boards in Asia

We've seen countless reports over the last few years preparing us for 2020 and what's to come - be it in trends that will shape the industry, or how digitalisation will continue changing the way we work.

As we approach this new decade and as things move more rapidly, it'll soon be time to look towards the next decade - what's in store for 2030's workforce?

To aid board directors, and HR leaders, Center for Creative Leadership's latest Board Leadership in Asia (BOLD 3.0) report has identified six trends that will impact the region over the next two decades.

#1 Exponential advancement in technology

Needless to say, technology will continue to bring boundless changes to the industry, changing many lives and creating many new opportunities along the way.

In 2030 and beyond, technology is not only expected to "directly and adversely" impact front-line workers, but it is also expected to enable Asia to move far ahead in domains such as healthcare, education, banking, and more.

[ALSO READ: Is technology the dark knight for HR?]

#2 The future of work will continue to evolve

In line with technological advancements, the region can expect shifts in employer-employee contracts and terms, and even varied aspirations of the next-gen worker.

Due to this, organisations as well as their teams and workforce will indeed look very different in the future, and both HR and board directors will have to continually review their policies in catering to this workforce.

[ALSO READ: Faces of HR: Eng Poo Jiuan of Baker Hughes on the role of L&D in the future of work]

#3 Asia will grow in importance

With Asia positioned as a key hub for region-wide and even global businesses, it is no surprise that it will be critical to the top line of most organisations.

In fact, with the region comprising such a big population, it will be positioned to not only be a lucrative market, but also a catchment area for talent in the future.

[ALSO READ: WEF: Asia-Pacific is the most competitive region in the world]

#4 Demographics will shift

While there are a few Asian countries with rapidly-ageing populations, Asia in 2030 will also have the highest population of working-age people in the world, the report predicted. This, as a result, is expected to have multiple ramifications on the region.

At the same time, it could present organisations with new batches of future-ready talent that will shape the practices of the new workforce.

[ALSO READ: Women on boards: How Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia fare]

#5 Urbanisation will be fast-paced

In the next two decades, Asia will witness a spike in the number of megacities.

In these instances, not only will they become the centres of economic development, but in the process, they will also create new societal and environmental issues. As such, companies will have to adapt to at an equally rapid pace.

[ALSO READ: Get ready to step up: Why HR executives should prepare for corporate board roles]

#6 Protectionism and populism will increase

Due to the limited availability of resources and opportunities in certain countries, the report foresees the construction of "higher walls" around national borders. This could potentially pose stricter rules on expats and impact organisations' mobility practices/policies.

[ALSO READ: The best countries to live and work: How Southeast Asian majors have fared]

In light of these expected trends, the report has identified steps that boards can take today to prepare themselves for tomorrow, based on what board heads from Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, and more have revealed they are doing.

Promoting diversity

We have recently onboarded two board members who are not Malaysians, and we see that having a diverse board brings in new and fresh perspectives.
- Independent Director, Malaysia

Tweaking board composition

I think there’s a focus on the composition of the board, specifi€cally how that needs to change in order to be future ready, and to reflect new contextual realities.
- Board Chair, Singapore

Curating a learning board

There is a realisation that there are some things that you have to constantly update yourself on. And if you don’t do that you may be irrelevant as there is no point sitting on the board and not adding any value.
- Independent Director, Sri Lanka

Being comfortable with discomfort

Board leadership must be ready for evolving contexts and the allowance for discomfort to happen, even failure to happen; we must be willing to live with that.
- Independent Director, the Philippines

Becoming tech-friendly

We regularly bring consultants in to educate the board on technology and how it may disrupt our organisation in the future.
- Independent Director, Japan

Increasing alignment

Our board is trying to up the game on alignment to get ready for the future. What sort of employees are required, and what regulatory risks need to be mitigated, etc. Board committees are also having a lot more intense discussions.
- CFO, India

Lead image / Provided

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