Banking and Finance Talent Gap Thailand

Banking and Finance Talent Gap Thailand

 
 

Sourcing Banking Talent in Thailand: An Inside Story

Amidst a bleak global economic outlook caused by concerns for an upcoming recession, the Asian banking sector remains resilient carving out a positive niche for itself amidst turbulent international conditions.

Thailand is reaping the benefits of a set of economic stimulus measures introduced by the new government to enhance the economy. These measures include a reduction in diesel taxes and the implementation of a visa-free entry program to attract Chinese tourists. The nation's central bank has revised its GDP growth forecast for 2024, increasing it from 3.8% to 4.4%. This adjustment reflects the country's commitment to fostering long-term sustainable growth, accompanied by an increase in its key interest rate.

To learn more about the intricacies of Thai's banking and finance sector, we spoke with Jake Dempster, Manager of Technology, Hays Thailand to learn how this industry has evolved to fit the market and what challenges candidate and business are facing today.

Thailand's banking and finance has embraced the future of technology

While local economy contributes much to the success of this critical sector, there is also much to be said about the flexibility Thai banks have taken in their approach towards updating their processes to be future-ready. Thai consumers today now enjoy a variety of digital-ready products and services that make the banking process much easier.

On paper, these innovations are being seen as a step towards bridging the gap between two important segments of the population. First of these are rural communities with limited access to physical banks benefit greatly from the availability of online services, allowing them to perform transactions without the hassle of traveling long distances to visit an outlet.

But technology benefits more than just marginalised groups. These innovations are crucial for appealing to a new generation of users that are embracing the digital world more keenly than ever before. From simple utilities such as being able to transact via mobile devices to integrated payment functions linking vendors to customer with QR codes, Thai banks are doing what they can to market themselves to Gen-Z as institutions that cater to their unique needs.

Thai banks are adopting artificial intelligence faster than ever

As the world of work continues to evolve at a breakneck pace, flexibility has become a key component for organisations sourcing for the right talent to support their operational needs. Nowhere does this feel more pronounced than in the tightly regulated banking and finance industry, where necessary change is fought for at every step of the way.

Leading this change is automation technology, which banks in Thailand have been quick to adopt to. Robotic Process Automation (RPA) has seen major pickup since the pandemic disrupted operations, requiring banks to innovate and keep disbursements and customer onboarding services going amidst tightening movement restrictions.

But at the very center of it all, banks understand the need to maintain a human touch in their strategy. Today, front office positions are in high demand, with many banks looking to secure existing staff by offering large salary increments and associated benefits. This is supported by robust hiring strategies to fill vacancies, as financial institution look towards building a better candidate experience to entice applicants.

Where AI adoption has not yet seen heavy use is in the talent recruitment space. The candidate acquisition process is still very much a traditional one, with a preference towards internal acquisition teams, agencies or referral programs.

Digital Banking is growing in Thailand

Worldwide, digital banks have been growing in popularity among users for providing a seamless, trouble-free digital on-boarding process. This is especially true in Asia where a fifth of the world's digital banks current predict, offering contemporary, cloud-driven architecture, exceptional user engagement, and a readiness to integrate their financial services into existing platforms to the tune of user engagement.

Thailand is already on route to becoming a cashless society, with 95% of transactions projected to occur via online channels making up 36.5 billion baht worth of digital transactions this year. The country’s central bank aims to issue three digital banking licenses in 2024, pushing Thailand closer to a digital economy.

 

Which technology roles are in demand in Thailand’s banking and finance sector?

While the nation anticipates an economic recovery in 2024, this improvement has not yet manifested in the banking and finance sector. This sector has experienced a decline in demand, particularly for technology-related positions over the past 18 months. Tech divisions within banks have now reached a stage of maturity with their projects and are no longer actively pursuing large-scale hiring.

Nonetheless, in the face of escalating digital threats to data privacy and information security, cybersecurity positions remain a hot commodity within the banking and finance sector. Furthermore, both traditional and cloud infrastructure roles sustain a consistent level of demand within the market.

More companies are delegating back-office operations out of Singapore as banks look towards automation for cost effectiveness. Junior to mid-level governance contractors are currently favoured for short-term projects.

In a evolving market like banking and finance, we understand the importance of having quick access to top talent who will make a real difference. We have spent years nurturing an ecosystem of highly engaged and unique candidates and will work with you to grow or scale your business using our unique expertise aligned to sectors and technologies. Be sure to reach out to us if you have a position that needs fulfilling.

What are employers in Thailand doing to find talent in banking and finance?

A lot has changed in banking and finance, traditionally recognised for its generous compensation in the face of a demanding professional environment. The changes wrought by the pandemic has resultted in priorities shifting for most of the workforce, with candidates prioritising a healthy work-life balance in their careers today.

In response to this, many banking subsidiaries that deal with tech are offering flexible work arrangements to candidates in a bid to entice them away from non-flexible workplaces. Offices have also begun to invest in culture, cultivating a ‘developers' playground’ atmosphere with team building activities such as hackathons turning into a staple.

Financial incentives also continue to play an important role for retention. Candidates are paid up to 20% above market rate in comparison to other industries, with some institutions offering bonuses of up to 12 months to employees for good performances.

As recruitment experts in banking and finance, we can help candidates navigate their prospects, equipping them with the tools to make the best employment decisions. Reach out to us and begin strategising the next phase of your career in banking and finance.
 

Where does Gen-Z fit into the Thailand banking and finance talent strategy?

The world of banking has grown increasingly intertwined with technology, and Thai banks understand this in principle. With a customer-centric focus when adapting to modern technology, financial institutions will now have to direct that same focus towards the search for talent. Understanding the demographics of this talent then, is key to developing a holistic strategy to ensure the talent pool doesn’t dry up.

At the very centre of this focus is Gen Z; a digitally savvy generation with formative experiences from the pandemic. This talent class feels at offs with the traditional working structures of a banking culture that has long been exemplified as an office job with long hours ahead of employees looking to climb the corporate ladder. Despite this contrast of value, organisations have much to gain from attracting and retaining Gen Z into the world of banking.

  • Prioritise employee wellbeing
The trend of "quiet quitting" and more recently, the "lazy girl jobs" gained momentum these past two years, with employees minimising their efforts to cope with extended workdays and rising health concerns. These terms have struck a chord with Gen Z, who are increasingly prioritising their well-being over their careers.

Today many banking and finance companies have made investments in physical and mental health programmes for employees. Initiatives such as extended bereavement leave, gym memberships and flexible work arrangements are gaining popularity as organisations look towards providing the resources employees need to stay healthy in all aspects.
 
  • Encourage diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I)
This generation is passionate about creating a more equitable and inclusive world. To meet their expectations, many companies in the banking and finance sector have taken significant steps to promote diversity and inclusion. This range from diverse hiring practice actively seeking a variety of backgrounds, experiences, and talents to implementing inclusive policies supporting gender and ethnic inclusivity.

The world of work has long realised the benefits of a diverse workforce. Consider review the following tips to see if your hiring practices are detrimental to skilled professionals:
 
  • Invest in training
Given the persistent shortages of critical skill sets in the banking and finance sector, it's prudent to explore alternative avenues for finding individuals who meet these demands. Nurturing the necessary skills in both new and current employees through training, upskilling, and career development initiatives, especially in light of ongoing technological advancements, is a strategic move.

Shifting the focus from job-seeking to skill-mining will also expand the pool of available talent. This is particularly relevant for positions requiring back-office professionals with programming expertise, a skill that might be more prevalent in certain technology-related industries.

As a lifelong partner to business in Thailand, Hays is well placed to find the right solutions to your staffing needs. From identifying existing talent to training those with potential, we're working for your tomorrow to help your organisation succeed in the short and long term.