Is Asia-Pacific the place to be in finance for 2020?

The biggest challenge for organisations today would be to manage their evolving workforce at a time of rapid change. This is especially so within Asia-Pacific’s (APAC) robust banking and financial industry where growth can be impeded due to the lack of the right digital talent.

Through the years, APAC’s digital maturity has enabled its region to exploit a competitive edge globally as well as the ability to optimise, grow and protect their businesses. From advanced technologies like automation to growing cybersecurity strategies, the region is said to be well prepared for what 2020 will bring.


Where are the talents for APAC?

Attracting and retaining the best people is a competitive advantage for every industry in the world. It is also no secret that banks and financial services companies are struggling to find the right talent in APAC, with many now looking overseas to fill their talent gaps.

Companies are still dependent on overseas talent to support growth and it is becoming increasingly clear that there is a growing skills gap and talent shortage. Reported by Today, there are over 1,000 Singaporean tech professionals living in the Silicon Valley. These include software engineers, product managers, data scientists, cybersecurity specialists, cloud architects and hardware engineers, across different seniorities and backgrounds.

Similarly, Japan is facing a severe talent shortage, but this is more so due to its rigid employment system. Long-standing regulations limit their ability to secure a strong pool of workers from all walks of life. On the other hand, Australia is facing a talent crunch due to the lack of investment in professional development for employees.

Nevertheless, with the myriad of catalysts that has led to the chronic labour shortage in the region, we find out why APAC still remains as an attractive hub for finance and technology.  

  • More opportunities to grow

Candidates often look for positions that provide opportunities for technical mentorship in skills they would like to develop. More often than not, they are looking to expanding their technical skill set with new responsibilities so that they can build their experience portfolio.

Leading by example, Singapore’s DBS SME Banking team and the DBS Foundation, will be launching its Social Enterprise Support Programme. This aims to provide mentoring, training and financing for its team as well as social enterprises that sign on to this programme. Mentoring sessions will be led by DBS’ senior SME bankers as well as via banking and finance training courses at the DBS SME Academy.

  • A healthy work-life balance

While good candidates won’t necessarily mind working overtime, they also want to know that their employers value that they have a personal life and will sometimes want to tend to and nurture that over their work life.

Microsoft’s Japan office experimented with a four-day workweek in August, resulting in a 40% productivity boost, with over 90% of employees reporting that they preferred the shorter week⁠—which aligns with previous studies that show greater work-life balance makes for more productive employees.

Given the success of that experiment, Microsoft Japan will conduct a second experiment over the winter and will encourage more flexible working.

  • A strong company culture

Having a strong culture in the workplace can distinguish your firm from others that do not place as much value on it. A company environment should be a collaborative and strong culture that encourages and nurtures the ideas and contributions of your staff as well as your customers.

As more people become digitally savvy, banks need to begin embracing the culture of change. Moving away from brick-and-mortar banks, Australia have progressed in cultivating digital-only neobanks that offer no-fee accounts, high-speed sign-ups and intuitive user interfaces. As a result, more traditional banks are embracing the technological wave, upskilling its workforce with the right skills, and reaping the returns of enhanced customer loyalty and engagement.


Should your company rethink your hiring and retaining strategies?

The fast–evolving APAC banking landscape will favour those that deliver leaner, more agile business models; who play to their strengths and who not only understand their customers, but also move forward with them.

Revamping the recruiting strategy and enabling human resources to know tech culture will create the need to work with recruiters who connect easily with tech people. There are various ways to raise the bank’s visibility among top digital talent, which helps generate interest in the bank a place to develop a career in banking technology.

  • Invest in leadership and management

Leadership development boosts employee engagement, increases the organisation’s ability to deal with gaps in the talent pipeline, and reduces the headaches and costs associated with turnover. Great leaders attract, hire, and inspire great people and this could support your company’s growth in the long run.

  • Emphasise on the soft skills

While technical skills are essential for you to get the work done, soft skills are what open most of the doors to come. This includes your work ethic, your attitude, your communication skills, your emotional intelligence and a whole host of other personal attributes which are the soft skills that are crucial for career success. Companies are also naturally inclined to retain employees whose attitude is positive and upbeat, and who are always willing to help.


What’s next for 2020?

Banks across APAC will still need to streamline their technology architecture and modernise their systems. This will then ensure that they would be able to compete with digital companies in terms of speed, productivity, and customer experience globally.

If you are looking to relook your company’s hiring strategy for 2020, do connect with us via the form below. For more industry-related information, do follow us and stay up to date with our LinkedIn.


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