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How to overcome leadership challenges in emerging markets

Jennifer Gramolt by Jennifer Gramolt

How to overcome leadership challenges in emerging markets

Leadership talent in emerging markets: How to overcome leadership challenges

Part 1 – The leadership talent challenge in emerging markets


Explore the evolving landscape of leadership talent in emerging markets, addressing challenges, regional dynamics, and market responses. Download our PDF for six actionable steps to create a sustainable global talent pipeline, aligning with the demands of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging.


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The persistent need for global talent

Globalisation has reshaped organisational landscapes, reducing reliance on expatriates. However, the demand for global talent in emerging economies persists, evolving post-pandemic. The traditional approach of deploying expatriates has limitations, necessitating a reconsideration of talent models.


Challenges of traditional talent models

While expatriates bring valuable expertise, cultural barriers and diminishing effectiveness towards the end of assignments are recognised challenges. The conversation has shifted, urging organisations to unlock local talent, particularly focusing on female talent in emerging markets, aligning with Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) initiatives.


Global talent trends

  • Middle East: Impact of Localisation Nationalisation efforts, such as Saudi Vision 2030 and Emiratisation, are reshaping the workforce. Challenges, like achieving gender equity, persist, demanding businesses to exemplify best practices.
  • East Asia: Overcoming Cultural Barriers Cultural norms impacting leadership skills are addressed through initiatives like Singapore’s SkillsFuture Leadership Development, bridging the gap between technical delivery and leadership roles.
  • Africa: Nations here are leveraging long standing partnerships with organisations to secure investment. Examples of this can be seen in the diamond industry, where we are seeing an investing in local talent to build a more sustainable pipeline and to protect their economic relationship.
  • South Asia: Drive to Evolve Capability The National Leadership Development Program (NLDP) in South Asia collaborates to offer leadership training, aligning skills with the demands of technology and service delivery.

Market responses

  1. Elevating the ‘S’ in ESG: organisations are urged to be intentional about mobility while emphasising sustainability, authenticity, and investment in early skills development.
  2. Driving ‘Homegrown’ talent approaches: from developing local talent to seeking Western hires with family ties or opting for ‘locally hired foreigners.’ Organisations must balance global experience with local context.
  3. Achieving the Right Cost to Value: leadership allocation frameworks must move beyond cost considerations, focusing on strategic significance and value creation to ensure business continuity and enhance value.


Creating a sustainable global talent pipeline: 6 actions for change

Download the PDF below to discover six actionable steps organisations can take to accelerate the shift towards a more effective leadership response in emerging markets.

Download the full article


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