We move into a 2012 clouded with uncertainty. With outlook for the US and Eurozone economies insecure and China's growth tempered, maintaining growth in Singapore and the region will be a challenge. Industry indicators already point to employment easing (Monetary Authority of Singapore, 1 Sep 2011, "Recent economic developments in Singapore").
In times like these, professionals begin to take stock. Your professional network has always been the surest source of opportunities when change happens - and change always happens. Today, however, we have the ability and tools to make sure we are set up for success in the future, able to take advantage of opportunity no matter what form it takes, and equipped with access to the right information to make better career decisions. Being able to easily find the right person who can introduce you to your next potential employer is becoming integral to career progression.
While employees look outward, employers look within. For organizations, there's a natural tendency to monitor headcount carefully as leaders look to streamline costs. This is also the time when innovative and brave companies acquire talent to ensure that they have the best people in the right roles ready to fully capitalize on opportunities as markets recover.
In a networked world, business leaders must figure out how to navigate the complexities of their global operations to stay locally relevant. Worldwide reach is crucial in a networked world where opportunities are no longer confined by geographical boundaries, but being local and relevant is equally important. That's why LinkedIn has extended our local presences in Asia, with multiple new offices and Bahasa Malaysia, Bahasa Indonesia, Japanese and Korean language versions of LinkedIn - to help professionals and organizations access global talent, tailored to local needs.
And there is an opportunity for businesses to elevate the role of talent - not just by scaling geographically, but as a strategic source of competitive advantage. There are an estimated 640 million professionals worldwide. Imagine the power inherent in linking all these people, so professionals can stand on the shoulders of giants by connecting to each other's connections to reveal new opportunities and insights. Consider also if recruiters could search this global network of professionals, filtering them by geography, skills, seniority, or any number of other facets - how much easier would it be for them to match the best people with the right job?
Now look past the individual organization to the workforce as a whole, with its 3.3 billion people. The network effects don't end at connections and recruitment. For every entrepreneur who finds the venture capitalist he needs to fund his big idea, how many jobs could his new company generate? For every company able to expand into new geographies by finding and hiring the right local professionals, what could they contribute in multiplier effects for the local market? Making connections at this scale can impact entire economies, not just individual organizations.
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