Despite the global economic slowdown, Asia Pacific countries remain optimistic about business growth according to the latest Compass Index from serviced offices provider Compass Offices.
Australians are the most confident, with just over half (51%) of Australians feeling “strongly confident” about the future with a further 26% feeling “confident”. This is followed by 43% “strongly confident” in Singapore and 30% in Hong Kong. Japan was the gloomiest market, with only 15% of respondents hopeful about the future.
The Compass Index measures business trends in nine different APAC countries, with respondents ranging from start-ups and SMBs to multi-national companies.
With China’s economic slowdown, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) forecasts global growth to be 3.4% in 2016 with a weakened outlook for the next six months. The Asian Development Bank forecasts the Asian region to post 5.7% annual GDP growth, slightly easing from 5.9% in 2015.
Andrew Chung, CEO of Compass Offices, says it’s encouraging to see optimism among the region’s businesses.
“However, to stay on top of their game, they will need to reconsider where their investment is and reinvent new ways of working, to be more adaptable to economic conditions,” Mr Chung says.
There are some headwinds on the horizon. Employment growth is predicted to slow this year. In Japan, less than 20% of survey respondents plan to hire this year.
However the Index shows that businesses in Singapore (61%), Australia (56%) and Hong Kong (44%) do plan to increase staff numbers, and many more companies haven’t ruled it out.
Sales, marketing and IT skills are the top three most in-demand skills this year to support business growth. Hong Kong, Singapore and Australia all listed sales first, followed by marketing and then IT.
“We work with companies of different sizes and shapes and from various industries. We understand that growing business takes more than passion, especially to stay on top of competition. This is why, at Compass Offices, we always strive to partner with our clients to provide them with solutions that not only suit their business needs but also provide flexibility to support their business growth,” Mr Chung says.
Compass Offices is hoping to capitalise on the current Asian growth by adding more centres in the Philippines. It’s also adding Poland to its network after strong demand from existing clients.