South East Asia is Today’s Business Hotspot: Steps To Build A Jet-setting Career Here

Apr 07, 2017

The ten economies that make up the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and include emerging ‘young guns’ – economies like Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia, among others, are all set to turn into global hubs of technology development and process outsourcing. Armed with a vision of a ‘borderless economy’ among these nations by 2030, each of the ASEAN economies are expected to cross the $1 trillion GDP mark in that time frame. With YoY GDP growth projected to range between 6% for fast maturing economies like Singapore to 8.3% in the young, dynamic economy of Myanmar, the ASEAN nations will see an explosion of employment opportunities.

According to the ASEAN World Economic Forum and the 2016 South East Asia Salary and Employment Outlook, here's a brief look at how professionals in these frontier economies in these region can leverage their knowledge and skills. Skill Upgradations, in the form of Certifications, will be the major driver of tremendous new wave of prosperity. These can be classified by employment functions.

The most prominent high-growth sector, 67% of regional tech employers are expecting to increase their headcount this year, in contrast to a mere 11% planning job cuts. Shortage of Talent remains the key concern here, with employers battling it out to retain and poach skilled and certified talent.

In fact, more than 35% workers expect their impending pay hike to be in the range of 6% to 20% in the current year, as per the Michael Page 2016 salary and employment outlook report.

The most in-demand certifications in this sector are largely influenced by new emerging technologies. The rankings are:

  • Big Data
  • Cloud IT
  • Computer Forensics
  • Computer Hardware
  • Wireless networking
  • Information Security
  • Enterprise Architect
  • Database Architect and Administrator

Aptly hailed by Saadia Zahidi of TIME Magazine as the mammoth sector for jobs in the ASEAN regions for the current decade, this sector is projected to see massive surge in hiring, as countries like Brunei, Vietnam and Myanmar ramp up their domestic healthcare infrastructure. A combined 88% of employers are expecting to hire in the current fiscal. Compensation of specialized healthcare personnel are also expected to peak in another three years, with a simple averaged raise of around 8%.

This evergreen sector has also witnessed an increased emphasis on certifications lately and the most important certifications that employers are looking to hire are:

  • Audiologists
  • Dental Hygienists

The finance sector is at an inflection point, with most firms either planning to retain their current headcount or marginally increase it in the coming year. However, capable new hires are being actively sought out.

As further indicated 37% of regional employers cite shortage of skilled and certified talent as the main hindrance to meeting their headcount plans. 27% of employers are expecting to pay significant bonuses.

Certifications in high demand are those related to either enterprise finance management or GRC related accounting. The Top Certifications in Finance that employers are looking for in their talent this year are:

  • Public Accountants
  • Chartered Financial Analysts (CFA)
  • Financial Risk Managers
  • Management Accountants
  • Chartered Global Management Accountants
  • Information Systems Auditors
  • Internal Auditors

Human Resources
The trajectories are intertwined, with high employment and employee turnover rates also reflecting the need for an increased number of skilled Talent Managers and human resources professionals across different countries in the region. Large players in the region are looking to expand and diversify aggressively in the new markets – 49% of employers expect to increase headcount this year, followed by 42% who expect it to remain stable.

Human Resources certifications that the leading employers in the region are looking for in their potential employees include:

  • HR Consultants
  • Human Resources Executives (Chief HR Officer or Vice President of Human Resources)
  • Training & Development Managers
  • Executive Recruiters
  • Human Resources IT Specialists

Sales and Marketing
A staggering 60% of employers in the region expect to ramp up their headcount over the next 12 months, and 56% are looking to provide significant increments to their sales and marketing teams – anywhere between 5% and 10%.

Digital Marketing skills have seen unprecedented demand, with most careers in this domain registering extremely rapid growth. The highest valued certifications by employers in this segment for the current year are:

  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • Social Media Marketing (SMM)
  • Email Marketing
  • Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
  • Content Marketing
  • Web Analytics

Professionals looking forward to make their mark in the corporate world in these new, emerging world economies of tomorrow, their time begins NOW! Just being a skilled professional is not going to cut it anymore, as the non-certified professionals of today are becoming more painfully aware of, with each passing day. Capability-validation is the key. And a professional credential or certification unlocks high prospects doors like none other. Fair bit of warning, however – while there are a lot of dubious certifiers out there, one should carefully opt for certifications that are accepted by employers (you can refer to their websites) and are considered industry standards by peers.

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