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APAC business leaders are optimistic in the wake of the EU Referendum

Hong Kong - October 6 2016 - The majority (45%) of APAC business leaders believe Asia will benefit from increased investment and focus due to the uncertainty in Europe over the longer term, according to a recent survey by leading executive search firm, Harvey Nash.  The "Brexit's Impact on Asia" survey gathered insights from 165 business leaders in the region to assess the impact of the UK's EU referendum result on APAC markets. 

Over half (51%) of APAC businesses believe that Brexit and the resulting market conditions have not yet affected their operations. 34% of respondents felt Brexit had an immediate negative impact on their business; however 15% of Asian business leaders report a positive impact. 

The majority of respondents report that their business is being affected by general levels of economic uncertainty caused by the global slowdown (72%). Those working within the Financial Services sector report the greatest impact (83%). Further major trends affecting business include the China slowdown, global oil prices, the impending US presidential elections and geopolitical tensions in parts of the world.

Businesses were massively unprepared for Brexit.  The majority (59%) didn't have a response or contingency plan in place to deal with the impact of the EU Referendum as they didn't expect the British people to vote to leave. Of those that were prepared only 9% say they were fully prepared (the majority of them represent UK or EU headquartered firms), while a further 20% had a communications plan in place and 12% had a business contingency plan in place.

Top five trends from the survey include:

1) Brexit hasn't had an immediate impact on APAC business

51% of respondents believe Brexit has not affected their business

2) The Tech sector is the most optimistic about Brexit

The Retail & Consumer sector reports the most negative effect, 41% reporting an immediate adverse impact

3) APAC is set to benefit in the long term

45% of respondents felt Asia has a great opportunity ahead as a result of Brexit

4) APAC is currently deeply affected by high levels of uncertainty

72% report their business is being impacted by the general global slowdown, 50% highlighted the China slowdown, 20% flagged global oil prices

5) Businesses need to be better prepared

The majority 59% did not have a response or contingency plan in place to deal with the impact of Brexit. 

Nick Marsh, Managing Director, Harvey Nash Executive Search APAC said: "The Referendum decision to leave the European Union undoubtedly came as a shock to most in the business world. High levels of uncertainty are currently impacting the markets and as yet there is no real sense of the longer term impact of Brexit, although business leaders in APAC are positive about the future.  In Asia we are likely to experience an ever increasing tide of talent from Europe seeking opportunities in the region, however we anticipate the focus on local leadership is likely to continue."

For more insights please download the Harvey Nash Brexit Survey APAC impact.pdf infographic.


About Harvey Nash

Harvey Nash has helped over half the world's leading companies recruit, source and manage the highly skilled talent they need to succeed in an increasingly competitive, global and technology driven world. With over 7,000 experts in more than 40 offices across Europe, Asia and the USA, we have the reach and resources of a global organisation, whilst fostering a culture of innovation and agility that empowers our people across the world to respond to constantly changing client needs. We work with clients, both large and small, to deliver a portfolio of services: executive search, professional recruitment and IT outsourcing.

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