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The Battle for Talent in the Banking & Financial Services Industry

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06 Mar 00:00 by Simon Bruce

The Banking and Financial Services sector in Myanmar is really heating up and it is only going to get hotter in the years to come!

Last year, we saw a surprise announcement by the Central Bank of Myanmar (CBM) that increased the flexibility of the license to the international banks that allow them to start lending to local companies. Once this gains traction, this will create a massive boost to the economy and the foreign banks operations in Myanmar. However, this also caused lot of concern for the local banks because up until now the CBM hasn’t moved very quickly with liberalizing the financial services industry, and the local banks didn’t have the pressures of international competition.

Next, after many delays in 2018, suddenly on the 2nd of January 2019 the announcement to liberalize the insurance industry was made. The new legislation will allow local companies to do JV partnerships with international insurance companies, and 3 licenses will be issued to foreign life insurance companies allowing them to operate a 100% foreign owned entity. With these licenses and JVs targeted to be finalized during the first half of 2019, the Myanmar insurance industry is really set for rapid growth.

Now we are hearing exciting news that in 2020 the legislation related to foreign banks will change dramatically with the potential of retail banking licenses being issued to some of the major international banks.

Wow from snail to cheetah, the Banking and Financial Services industry has suddenly rocketed forward!

As a side note, for the last couple of years, the local banks have been consistently recruiting locals and repatriates to build solid foundations. But there have always been more vacancies than suitable candidates due to the shortage of available talent in Myanmar for this sector. But now with the expansion predicted in this industry, the number of candidates with industry experience vs the number of vacant positions is only going to decrease.

This is where the problem has appeared and raises the question of where they going to get the candidates from. But this also presents the greatest opportunity for candidates for the last 4 years.

I wasn’t in Myanmar when Telenor and Ooredoo first set up, but I have heard the stories. They entered and realized that candidates with industry experience that could work in an international company were extremely limited. Their answer was to aggressively approach candidates from well-known local and international distribution companies like DKSH, Unilever, IBTC etc.

Now if you look at all developed markets, the Banking and Financial Services industry is the most attractive industry for candidates and movies like The Wolf of Wall Street and TV Shows like Billions show why it is considered the “sexy” industry. This is what makes it extremely competitive and only candidates from top universities, or candidates who have worked in the Big 4 consultancies are able to develop their career here. The big difference with Myanmar is that the existing Banks and Insurance companies do not have the volume of employees to support this growth and therefore the international banks, insurance companies and other financial institutions are going to have to get their employees from somewhere.

This presents a once in a lifetime opportunity for candidates wanting to move to, what is certainly going to be the most rapidly growing industry in Myanmar for many years to come. For candidates working in the well-known FMCG companies and companies like Telenor and Ooredoo, they will suddenly have an opportunity to move into the Banking and Financial Services industry. Something that in 3 to 4 years will no longer be an option.

This is definitely something to be very excited about. These companies and this industry will become the biggest and most attractive to work for in the future, and the demand for talent with experience in these industries will continue to grow and almost always be in demand. Thus giving long term career development opportunities to the lucky candidates that make the change!

We are currently working with a number of international and local companies in the Banking and Financial Services industry who are eager to employ strong talent with backgrounds in the Telecom and FMCG industries. Check out some of the roles from the link below and see what ones may suit you.