Companies from Korea, China, Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong have recorded the fastest growth of direct foreign investment from Asian countries in Australia over the last three years. Japanese companies already have a substantial level of investment in Australia. Consequently, companies like Sony, Honda, Samsung, Hyundai, Daewoo, MobileOne, Singtel, Hutchison Whampoa, Fujitsu and LG will be joined by others in looking for Australian employees.
The main areas of interest of Asian companies currently operating and investing in Australia are in the automobile industry, domestic goods, technology, telecommunications, banking and finance and the resources sector. These industries offer a wide range of employment including:
- sales, customer service and business development
- marketing and public relations
- administration and human resource management
- accounting and other financial services
- information technology: hardware and software development, network administration and technical support
- engineering and technical support.
Working with Australians from Asian backgrounds
For more than 200 years, migrants have made significant contributions to Australia’s population. People from Asia have been visiting Australia for hundreds of years before that for purposes of trade and commerce. They have also been coming here to live and work permanently almost as long as Europeans.
Since 2009, after the United Kingdom and New Zealand, the biggest national groups of immigrants to Australia have been from China and India. The population of Australia now includes over 1.2 million people who were born in Asian countries [*].
People with at least some of the Asia Skills mentioned here (country knowledge, language skills, cross cultural skills) have a distinct advantage in working with and for these migrant communities which are an important part of Australia’s economic makeup.
There is an opportunity for them to be involved in support and advocacy roles within Asian communities as they adjust to Australian society and become established members of the larger community. Social workers, teachers, community support workers, youth sport and recreation officers, translators, legal aid workers and others working in mainly Asian-Australian communities need these skills. Cross cultural understanding is a crucial attribute for roles like these.
Anecdotal evidence suggests that new migrants prefer to do business with people who they can communicate effectively with and trust. Effective communication will come from the right sort of language skills; the trust is likely to come from cultural understanding. People with these skills will be at an advantage as these growing communities become economically and socially established.