Tackling shortages in financial services talent in Asia Pacific

May 08, 2023 | 16:16
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Amid a talent shortage in the financial services industry in the Asia Pacific region, organisations are heading to invest in training initiatives to upskill employees and develop talent to meet their digital transformation demands.

“The financial services industry (FSI) is undergoing a swift digital transformation, and with this evolution comes the urgent need for a digitally skilled workforce that can help financial institutions fully benefit from cloud technology,” Emmanuel Pillai, head of AWS Training and Certification for ASEAN said.

“To help bridge the digital skills gap that exists in our region, we are proud to offer AWS Industry Quest for Financial Services, a game-based learning experience specifically designed for financial service employees to help them build innovative new banking solutions on the cloud.”

Tackling shortages in financial services talent in Asia Pacific
Emmanuel Pillai, head of AWS Training and Certification for ASEAN

Talking to VIR at the media briefing at the AWS Summit ASEAN 2023 in Singapore, he added, “One of the challenges is on the worker side of things, which is having finding sufficient time to upskill is one of the biggest challenges that we face. And so one of the things that needed to drive awareness that we provide all of this free training that's available on it's so ensuring that is in specific countries like Thailand, or Vietnam, Indonesia, the level of globalisation is also challenged. Moreover, training is available out there is English, and we are continuing to localise our content.”

Training initiatives from international tech groups like those from AWS have helped businesses and organisations much. In awareness of this, organisations in ASEAN, including Vietnam, are investing in training initiatives to upskill employees and develop talent.

For instance, Techcombank, one of Vietnam’s largest banks and a 2023 Celent Model Wealth Manager Award recipient for “Technology Tools to Reach New Markets and Client Segments,” is embarking on a five-year digital transformation programme with a total investment of $500 million by 2025.

“In executing their vision, they are also investing in training initiatives to upskill employees and develop talent as the bank successfully migrates to AWS. To foster an environment of innovation while building a workforce for the future, Techcombank is leveraging AWS training programmes including AWS Skills Guild - a comprehensive skills enablement scheme designed to build cloud fluency across the organisation," said Ashley Longabaugh, Research Principal, Techcombank: Serving Financial Advice to the Underserved through Techcombank Mobile App, Celent.

"Self-paced digital training on cloud fundamentals will be made available to all employees of the bank. AWS training also offers live classes with instructors, which will help upskill 2,000 participants over the next 24 months.”

Elsewhere, UnionBank of the Philippines, as the 2023 Celent Model Bank Award for Cloud Migration winner, has the ambition to run fully in the cloud.

“To meet this ambition, UnionBank partnered with AWS to create a learner’s guild programme to develop employees to work with cloud technologies and services. Importantly, this included cloud training for people outside of technology, such as HR, audit, and risk, so they were able to understand and deal with the implications of cloud transformation,” said Daniel Mayo, senior analyst, UnionBank of the Philippines: Migrating Core Banking to the Cloud, Celent.

In new developments, AWS Industry Quest for the FSI, the first programme was launched by AWS in November 2022, due to demand from the FSI sector for game-based learning, with more to come.

AWS Industry Quest is a new interactive, game-based learning experience for individuals and organisations to learn about building real-world cloud solutions in their specific industries. AWS Industry Quest has two target audiences: individual learners working in technical roles–including solutions architects, solution engineers, professional services engineers, and business analysts with technical proficiency on AWS; and organisations whose teams have at least one year of experience building with AWS.

Tackling shortages in financial services talent in Asia Pacific
Each assignment uses AWS services to address a challenge for one of the firm’s departments

AWS Industry Quest: Financial Services uses an interactive approach to teach professionals and teams how to build solutions on AWS, such as Amazon SageMaker, fraud prevention, data lakes for financial services, grid computing for capital markets, serverless deposit accounts, and more.

In the game, FSI learners will run a virtual financial services firm, and have to complete solution-building exercises specific to the industry. They can practice within the in-game console environment before applying their knowledge at work.

In ASEAN, AWS has given a helping hand in skills training for years. The company has trained more than one million people on cloud skills since 2017 in the region. In particular, in Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam, AWS has trained more than 50,000 people in each country on cloud skills since 2017.

FSI faces talent shortage

According to IDC research, the FSI is facing a talent shortage in the Asia Pacific region. This talent crunch is consistently identified by 40 per cent of financial services organisations as the greatest challenge in their digital transformation journey.

According to experts, in the digital transformation trend, technology-enabled workforce cam benefit workers, organisations, and economies. Specifically, as shown in the “Asia Pacific Digital Skills Study: The Economic Benefits of a Tech-Savvy Workforce,” FSI workers in ASEAN (241 respondents) face challenges in receiving training, despite the importance of building a tech-savvy workforce for the industry’s growth and success.

The study was commissioned by AWS and conducted by Gallup which surveyed 16,000 working adults and 7,500 employers in Australia, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, and Thailand across a variety of public and private sector organisations and industries.

Accordingly, more than four in five of financial services workers in the ASEAN region are “extremely” or “very interested” in training in at least one digital skill. Financial services workers across ASEAN are “extremely” or “very interested” in receiving training for an average of 13 digital skills such as AI and Cybersecurity.

The study also finds that lack of time is the greatest barrier to financial services workers in the ASEAN region receiving digital skills training. Roughly half of workers say lack of time is a barrier. And increased efficiency was the most named result among financial services workers across ASEAN who received digital training. A total of 44 per cent of FSI workers who participated in training say their work efficiency increased as a result.

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