Banks struggle to hire workers in SE Asia
Domestic banks, which are expanding their presence in Southeast Asia to overcome Korea’s saturated financial market, are experiencing difficulties in securing quality workers there.
With more foreign financial firms entering the market, they are struggling to retain talented employees in the region as an increasing number of their workers are asking for higher wages, and then moving to other financial companies once their demands are not met.
According to the Financial Supervisory Service (FSS), the nation’s financial firms operate a total 433 branches and offices in 43 countries as of the end of June.
Of their foreign markets, Southeast
Asia has been the most favorable destination for domestic financial firms, reflecting the market’s rapid economic growth over the past couple of years.
Despite their smooth entry to the market, sources said these financial firms are experiencing difficulties in securing talented workers with business and language abilities.
“Southeast Asian countries such as Vietnam, Myanmar and Indonesia have enjoyed several years of rapid economic growth. Not only Korean financial firms but also global investment banks are making inroads into these markets,” a domestic bank official said on condition of anonymity.
“Korean firms want to hire Korean students there who can speak not only Korean and English but also the local language. The current wages are far lower than the levels these students ask for if they get hired here. For that reason, they just work for one or two years then move to other companies.”
Korean firms are seeking to hire local talents in these emerging markets, but cultural barriers are another reason domestic firms experience difficulties in human resource management.
“India is a Hindu society based on the caste system. The system’s presence is still too big in the country’s business arena,” the official said.
“Kshatriya employees wouldn’t work hard under a Vaisya manager. Such a problem was something Korean firms never expected when they first entered the Indian market. Korean firms have now found a way to manage such problems, but are still under pressure in securing more talented workers.”
Of the region’s markets, Vietnam has been the most favorable destination for domestic lenders.
An FSS study said Korea’s commercial banks posted a combined 157.8 billion won ($131.8 million) net profit last year in the market, up 116 percent from $61 million the previous year.