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AI and Automation impacting APAC workplaces in the near future, reports Harvey Nash HR Survey 2017

Over a quarter of global respondents already report an impact

Hong Kong - January 25, 2017 - Technology looks set to have a big impact on the future of workforce planning in APAC, with 63 per cent of HR leaders in the region expecting Automation and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to impact their organisations in the next 5 years whilst 26 per cent report these technologies are already having an impact. This is according to the sixth annual Harvey Nash Human Resources Survey, representing the views of more than 1,000 HR leaders internationally. 

Technology as a whole is revolutionising how today's HR departments are operating, with 68 per cent of APAC respondents saying the importance of Technology Enabled HR has increased in the past year (compared to 60 per cent globally). Over a third (37 per cent) of respondents in the region reported that innovation for their organisation was 'very important and the majority (90 per cent) believe that HR has its own role in promoting and supporting innovation through workforce management.

Current levels of worldwide economic uncertainty are reflected in the decreased focus on training and HR processes as priorities.  This year training and employee education was considered a priority by four per cent fewer HR leaders than last year, with HR Systems and Processes the drop was even greater, falling by 8 per cent. However, APAC boards have high expectations of HR to retain and develop talent in 2017 with the priorities of Employee Retention & Motivation growing by 6 per cent, Culture Development by 4 per cent and Leadership Capabilities growing by 16 per cent when it comes to this year's set of priorities. 

Nick Marsh, Managing Director of Harvey Nash Executive Search APAC said: "Technology is increasing its impact on the Human Resources function, and this year's Harvey Nash HR Survey results show that HR leaders in Asia are further embracing tech and innovation. In light of the continuing skills shortage across the region, we are also seeing a renewed focus on the importance of retaining and developing talent, which is a directive being driven straight from the board."

Additional APAC findings from the Harvey Nash Human Resources Survey 2017 include:

Streamlining the business is currently a top priority, but will be less important in the future - Being lean and cost effective is the most important activity for HR at this given moment. However, this is expected to become the least important activity in 5 years' time, when respondents believe flexible working hours and outsourcing lower skilled work will be the top priorities. 
Opinion is split over the progression of employee engagement efforts - 46 per cent of HR leaders believe employee engagement within their organisation has improved in the last 5 years and 30 per cent believe it has grown worse. 

Majority of APAC HR leaders report to the CEO and have a seat at the board reflecting the status of HR - 51 per cent of APAC respondents report to the CEO/Managing Director, and 61 per cent sit on a board or are part of an executive management team. 

For more information about the survey download our infographic here, or to request a full copy of the results, please visit or email 


Notes to Editors

About the Survey
Now in its sixth year, the Harvey Nash HR Survey 2017 collected data between 27th October and 21st December 2016 and represents the views of over 1,000 HR employees from more than 40 countries. Of the respondents, 9% identified themselves as Chief HR Officer, 17% as VP/Director of HR, 17% as Head of HR and another 16% as Senior Manager HR, the remaining 41% were spread between a broad range of roles including HR Business Partner and Talent Manager.
For more information about the survey and to request a full copy of the results, please visit or email

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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