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Australian multinationals battle brain drain

14 March, 2012

Australian-born multinationals are investing more in holding onto their key people than foreign-owned firms in an effort to fight the brain drain, according to a new study.

Research by Head of Management and Information Systems at Victoria University Professor Pauline Stanton shows Australian businesses have a much bigger focus on developmental programs for their key groups – or people that really add value to your company – than overseas companies.

"The theme emerging from our study is that Australian companies really want to hold onto their key groups," she said.

Professor Stanton believed this was due to Australian companies feeling at risk of having key staff poached by bigger overseas-based rivals in the competitive global workforce.

Australian companies may also have to work harder to attract key staff in the first place, she said, because they cannot tap into the overseas talent pool like their competitors with offshore parent companies.

The study showed these foreign companies were more likely to draw on their resources from abroad

Professor Stanton said to understand exactly why Australian companies were working harder to retain key employees the study will be continued for a further two years.

Another pattern to emerge from the study was that Australian-born multinationals are using more shared HR services: More than 70 per cent of Australian multinationals used HR shared services centres but only 37 per cent of foreign-owned businesses do.

Among foreign-owned companies, shared services centres were more common in companies from the UK.

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