Resignation trend hurts digital drive

Resignation trend hurts digital drive

The Great Resignation has affected Thai small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) pursuing digital transformation, according to 98% of them surveyed in a new study by SAP, a global enterprise application software developer.

The study, entitled "Transformational Talent: The Impact of the Great Resignation on Digital Transformation in Asia-Pacific and Japan's SMEs", gauged the opinion of 1,363 SMEs across eight countries in the region, including 207 in Thailand.

The Great Resignation was coined in 2021 as a worldwide trend in which millions of employees left their jobs.

"The Great Resignation can be seen as an existential threat to many organisations," said Atul Tuli, managing director of SAP Indochina.

"Digital transformation is a fundamental way SMEs not only build resilience, but how they create agile, innovative paths to growth. But without the right people, any transformation will struggle. Investment in talent must match investment in innovation to ensure SMEs in Thailand both survive -- and thrive."

According to the research, 23% of the Thai SMEs surveyed said the workforce volatility, including the Great Resignation, had severely affected their digital transformation journey.

Some 27% categorised the impact as "very impactful" and 38% termed it as having a "moderate impact", while 10% said they were slightly affected.

The report indicated that Thai SMEs are experiencing the Great Resignation just as acutely as the rest of Asia-Pacific and Japan, saying 47% of SMEs in Thailand saw more staff resigning now compared with a year ago.

Some 67% of Thai SMEs surveyed said they were not finding it easy to cope with the impact of the Great Resignation, and 60% found it difficult to hire replacements compared to a year ago, while 59% said they were seeing few or no qualified applicants.

The talent crunch is impacting organisations' ability to digitally transform their businesses, the report said. The lack of skilled talent ranks as one of Thai SMEs' top challenges to achieving successful transformation, trailing understanding of digital solutions and balancing priorities, but ahead of traditional obstacles like cybersecurity or lack of budgets.

As a result, Thai SMEs are investing in their workforce to mitigate the impact of the Great Resignation and boost their ability to digital transform themselves.

The report shows 39% of respondents want to improve financial incentives to boost talent retention over the next 12 months. The same proportion wants to ensure talent retention through the provision of flexible work arrangements.

Over 71% of SMEs say upskilling to support digital transformation is urgent, leading to 77% of Thai SMEs saying they will focus on digital training this year.

"Talent requires the right remuneration, flexibility, and a clearly communicated progression journey. Prioritising upskilling and career progression, and supporting it with access to the right technology and partners, is proven to be a win-win for employees and for SMEs here in Thailand," Mr Tuli said.

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