Global Talent Update – September 2020

“This is a good time to recall the words of naturalist Charles Darwin that ‘it is not the strongest of the species that will survive, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.’ Today’s resilient leaders strive to navigate uncertainty, promote flexibility and shift organizational priorities in order to build a solid foundation for the new world of work.” – Bert Miller, President and CEO, MRINetwork

Europe, Middle East and Africa

UserTesting, a leading provider of on-demand human insights, announced a 400 percent customer growth in EMEA since opening its European headquarters in Edinburgh last July, according to a report from Business Wire, a Berkshire Hathaway company.

During the past year, UserTesting has gained over 100 new customers, including Brewin Dolphin, Depop, Post Office, Trussle, and HelloFresh — the leading meal-kit provider headquartered in Berlin. They join other well-known European brands such as ASOS, Deliveroo, and Skyscanner, all of which are now embarking on their customer empathy journey with UserTesting, according to the report.

To support its growing customer base across Europe, UserTesting has been building out its European talent, with an 8x growth in headcount — growing from 9 to 79 in just one year’s time and now with offices in Edinburgh, London, Berlin, and Oslo. This includes the recent acquisition of Teston, a European provider of multilingual experience testing for fast customer feedback in English, Norwegian, Swedish, German, French, and Danish.

UserTesting is also investing in Scotland’s tech community through two recent initiatives. UserTesting is supporting the charity Scotland Women in Technology (SWiT) via Hearts Women, and is also donating access to its platform to help enable the Scottish Tech Army to get fast feedback and insights on their technology projects, which are helping Scottish businesses that have been badly affected by COVID-19.


Around 500 million apps are expected to be built around the world over the next five years, which would be more than all the apps built over the last 40 years, according to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, reported by Microsoft Asia News Center.

In Asia Pacific, Independent software vendors (ISVs) are responsible for a large majority of software applications built on third-party platforms. They are the biggest catalysts for growth in cloud adoption in the region.

“From student startups to established IT solution-providers, ISVs come in all sizes,” says Nadella, “but they are united by a common goal: to drive digital transformation through innovative tech solutions. I’m proud to see how so many ISVs in Asia Pacific have created unique and crucial digital solutions as countries and organizations grapple with the pandemic. Whether it assists healthcare workers and governments to make informed decisions or enables business continuity and remote everything, each solution is built with the customers’ needs at heart. From pneumonia detection tools to platforms supporting remote learning, these ISV solutions lead the charge in our response to COVID-19.”

The new normal has also brought about changes in how we learn, work, and live, observes Nadella. With health and safety measures in place by governments across Asia Pacific, schools and universities have quickly moved lessons online, so students continue to receive the education they deserve. She notes, for example that “ swiftly increased the server capacity of its educational content platform Headstart by more than four times to meet the demand for a home-based learning application in Sri Lanka. Built on Azure, Headstart is now the country’s largest e-learning ecosystem with more than 600,000 registered users, 5,700 lessons, and 150 content partners.”


With only three months to go, businesses that trade between Canada and the United Kingdom are worried about not having a post-Brexit deal in place, according to an article in CBC. Although the United Kingdom left the European Union in January, the terms of the EU’s Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) with Canada continue to apply until Dec. 31, offering a bit more time to negotiate a bilateral replacement deal.

In a joint statement, the Confederation of British Industry and the Canadian Chamber of Commerce warned, “As the U.K. and EU’s transition period nears its end, the clock is ticking. The benefits businesses have under CETA are set to disappear and without a trade deal in place both our countries will be going into unchartered territory. After months of trade and supply chain disruptions due to the pandemic, a continuation of uncertainty as our economies slowly rebuild is not an environment businesses can withstand.”

CETA has been good for both countries, the statement said, boosting two-way trade by about 10 per cent over its first two years. That’s why they’re calling for a bilateral deal to replace it “at the earliest opportunity.” According to International Trade Minister Mary Ng’s office, officials now are working toward a “transitional agreement” to minimize disruptions for businesses and workers.

The U.K. hopes to finalize its terms of trade with the EU at a summit next month. It believes other trading partners now have enough clarity to proceed with their own deals — and indeed some have, including Japan earlier this month. A transitional agreement with Canada in the short term won’t be the same as a customized, bilateral agreement, which would take far longer than three months to conclude. It would, however, prevent the two countries from “crashing out” of CETA, offering a stop-gap measure until both sides have the time and capacity to negotiate something more bespoke, according to the CBC article.