The Covid-19 pandemic has severely affected almost all business and economic activities in Vietnam, and valuable and qualified human resource has taken a serious toll with several employees being laid off or having to accept large pay cuts.
However, banking could be a silver lining for many highly qualified human resource, with digital banking services providing a lucrative platform.
Opportunity in adversity
According to a latest survey by Adecco Vietnam, a provider of Human Resource Solutions, almost 30 percent of businesses reduced the number of their employees by 1 percent to 20 percent, and 16 percent of the businesses even laid off 21 percent to 40 percent of their current working employees. Among all businesses, the sectors that were the most seriously affected were services, industry, construction, agriculture, forestry, and fisheries.
On the other hand, the Covid-19 pandemic has also created and speeded up the coming of digital banking by about three to five years, with the need proving to be an urgency now. The digital transformation of the banking industry is now a strong feature to be considered if the banking system has to keep pace with global trends and survive and develop.
Along with digitizing, the banking industry also has to make a strong move towards cashless payment system and also move towards paperless currency. In most parts of Asia, digital banking is being considered by many as an opportunity for strong growth in coming time. New digital banks are being set to positively impact products, services, and the general experience in the financial and banking industry for both individuals and companies.
The plus point of digital banking compared to traditional banking methods is that it can generate higher revenue with low operating costs, faster market expansion, better access to businesses and customers, and simultaneously benefit exponentially in knowledge and data.
In the Vietnamese market, banks or financial companies still have been showing positive business results, even in some technology related industries, such as e-commerce or digital banking. Data from the Payment Department under the State Bank of Vietnam shows that in the first six months of 2020, there were 200 million payment transactions via the internet, of value of about VND 12,900 trillion, up 36 percent compared to the same period in 2019.
Competition in recruiting talent
Digital transformation brings opportunities but also comes with challenges in human resources for the banking industry. To convert effectively to a digital format, you must have people who understand both the required technology and the business profession as a whole. Therefore, there is fierce competition among banks to attract talent. The competition for attracting the best digital personnel is not only taking place between banks, but also between banks and fintech companies, who pay a lot of money to attract quality personnel.
In fact, because banks are focusing on developing digital services, the demand for related positions has also increased sharply in recent years. Positions with high demand include business development staff for banking services, customer experience analysts, and talented people for information technology segments such as project management and data analysis.
To resolve this challenge, banks are looking for candidates with experience of having worked abroad or overseas Vietnamese returning back home to stay and work. However, the search is not an easy one, due to an increasing demand for such positions, while candidates are limited because the field of digital banking is new. For this reason, banks will have to recruit candidates from other industries.
Mr. Bui Hai An, Chief Operations Officer of Timo, one of the first digital banks in Vietnam, said digital banking is a relatively new field in Vietnam, so human resources are mainly recruited from traditional banks who have financial expertise, or from technology companies. The downside of such recruitment is that banks have to retrain these candidates, although this solution also has certain advantages. Timo pursues a model that creates the best customer experience when using financial services, so customer analyst positions will be suitable for candidates with finance majors, or other insurance services, or even tourism, hotels, or restaurants.
Salary not deciding factor
Due to difficulties in recruitment, banks have policies to retain talented personnel such as by retraining, and welfare policies. Mr. Bui Hai An believes that Timo will apply technology to human resource management, increase reward programs, create an open work environment, and thereby help employees and the company achieve better results through higher efficiency and productivity.
According to the Anphabe survey on the concept of best workplace environment, wages are no longer a top concern for workers. Factors that keep employees engaged in the business include job characteristics, salary, fairness at work, training and development opportunities, empowerment, organizational brand, support from superiors and colleagues, and rewards and recognition of achievements. The quality of human resources is the core issue that determines the success and sustainable development of the move towards Industrial Revolution 4.0 and the integration process of the banking industry.
Ms. Ngo Thuy Han, Founder & CEO of BravoHR, a company providing recruitment to small and medium enterprises, said that 2020 was a year full of difficulties and challenges for most businesses, especially young businesses like BravoHR. However, BravoHR still has a very large corporate customer base from diverse industries, including the banking industry. The good sign is that bank leaders have correctly assessed the importance of building a company culture, as well as having a long-term human resource development plan, and offering reasonable remuneration policies to retain talented people, instead of focusing on recruiting based only on input, as at present.
Commercial banks could become technology firms by cooperating with technology firms, including telcos, to create a new growth space.
For many businesses, digital transformation is no longer an ambiguous concept, but a must. However, much still needs to be done to accelerate the process in Vietnam.