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10 months ago by Sandip Kotecha

With rapid economic growth across the entire region, it is no surprise that South-East Asia is garnering attention as a hotspot for economic activity, including recruitment.

One particular sector, which is set to thrive, is financial services.  Around 85% of transactions in ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations) are cash based, and only 1 in 4 people have bank accounts. 

The reliance on cash presents a serious opportunity for banks and e-payments providers – as economic growth continues, individuals will need to turn to more effective ways to look after their money.  Studies also show that reducing the volume of cash transactions in exchange for frictionless ones can help boost consumption, which could give way to a consumer boom in the region.

More efficient banking will also give businesses access to microfinance, as well as increasing financial transparency and creating a more efficient platform for governments to allocate grants and other resources.

In addition to this, the MAS (Monetary Authority of Singapore) have outlined plans to assert Singapore as a major global financial hub in fund management, domiciliation and forex through increasing investment in fintech infrastructure.

This provides opportunities for recruiters, as there is a large skills gap across the region between what employers want and what candidates can actually do. This is partly due to ageing workforces (Singapore in particular), making talent retention a top priority. 

Furthermore, lack of management talent results in businesses often having to look offshore to source candidates suitable for their positions. Businesses are also investing heavily in their own local pipeline, such as development programmes, in order to improve the local talent available.

This high level of investment in human capital will also make Singapore an attractive business environment for MNCs as it becomes a business and talent hub.

In summary, the Southeast Asian businesses environment appears to be one that is set to grow considerably over the next few years. Studies by McKinsey suggest that the deployment of disruptive technologies alone could add between $220bn-$625bn in annual economic impact by 2030. 

The implications of such high growth prospects create opportunities for businesses and recruiters alike, as we can only expect to see demand for skilled candidates rise.

Astbury Marsden has three Asian offices, with their Asian HQ in Singapore. We have an extensive list of skilled candidates across, financial services and technology and work with some of the biggest businesses in the region.