Closing the Talent and Skills Gap in ASEAN


DATE: 15 May 2018

TIME: 9:30 am – 12:30 pm

VENUE: Menara CIMB, KL Sentral, Malaysia

TOPIC: Closing the Talent and Skills Gap in ASEAN

Research shows that ASEAN-5 countries continue to face talent shortages and skills gaps.1 Singapore has a skills gap problem with a shortage of students enrolled in critical fields such as engineering and cyber security. Malaysia’s labour market indicates a lack of quality skills-based and job-relevant training. Indonesia faces both huge skills shortages and skills mismatches with 113 million skilled and semi-skilled workers required by 2030 in the services and manufacturing sectors. For example, projections indicate that Indonesia will have only 56% of the middle managers needed. Thailand also faces a shortage of skilled workers which continues to be a constraint to the growth of businesses. Finally, in the Philippines, a skills gap prevails with graduates not equipped with industry-relevant skills, especially in industries related to science and technology.

The ASEAN Economic Community calls for the facilitation of movement of skilled labour and business visitors within the bloc, yet labour mobility remains restricted. Six mutual-recognition agreements (MRAs) were concluded by 2012 for engineering services, nursing, architectural services, tourism, medical practitioners, and dental practitioners; while framework agreements covering two other professions (surveying and accounting services) have been signed. Except for engineering and architectural services, progress for the rest have been slow. Recently, the ASEAN also adopted and signed the ninth MRA for Flight Crew licensing in late 2017.

How will ASEAN integration help fast track labour mobility to meet the demand of the skills gap, including digital skills gap, and shortage ASEAN member states face? Does a liberalised labour market benefit all countries given the challenge in human capital development in individual countries, including CLMV? What needs to be done to ensure that the region’s benefits from current arrangements such as MRAs and what can be done to fill gaps in critical areas such as medicine in various countries?


​​Puan Shareen Shariza Binti Dato’ Abdul GhaniChief Executive Officer, TalentCorp Malaysia

Shareen Shariza Dato’ Abdul Ghani has over 20 years of experience in various industries including retail, capital markets, social and humanitarian sectors as well as in the corporate sustainability space. Before joining TalentCorp, she was the Director of Corporate Responsibility at Khazanah Nasional Berhad (Khazanah), where she helped shape Khazanah’s Corporate Responsibility strategy and established initiatives such as PINTAR, Yayasan Sejahtera and GEMS Malaysia. Prior to that, Shareen was Chief Operations Officer at MERCY Malaysia, where she served in humanitarian missions to Darfur, Sri Lanka, Iran, Aceh, and remote areas throughout Malaysia.

Shareen has been part of TalentCorp since its early years, in her capacity as Khazanah’s representative on the board of directors of GEMS Malaysia, the TalentCorp subsidiary responsible for upskilling Malaysian graduates through the Graduate Employability Management Scheme (GEMS). She was appointed the Chief Executive Officer of TalentCorp on 1 June 2016.

Shareen was a former board member of the Humanitarian Accountability Partnership and a recipient of the Pingat Darjah Paduka Mahkota Perak for her contributions towards humanitarian efforts. She holds a Master of Studies in Sustainability Leadership from Cambridge University and Master in Public Policy from University Malaya.

​​Mr. Chua Soon GheePartner, Head of Southeast Asia, A.T. Kearney, Singapore

Soon Ghee is a Partner with A.T. Kearney in Singapore, and is the Head of the Southeast Asia unit. He has over 20 years of experience in both consulting and industry across Asia. He is the author of “Asian Mergers & Acquisitions: Riding the Wave” which touches on M&A and post-merger integration in the Asian context, “Lifting the Barriers to E-Commerce in ASEAN”, and “The ASEAN Digital Revolution” white papers. He is also a regular speaker on CNBC, BBC, ChannelnewsAsia, and many regional conferences on topics related to digital, transformation and global trends.

​​Dato’ CM Vignaesvaran JeyandranChief Executive,Human Resources Development Fund (HRDF), Malaysia

As Chief Executive of the Human Resources Development Fund (HRDF), Dato’ Vicks (as he is fondly known) is one of Malaysia’s most vocal advocates of human capital development, catalysing the up-skilling, re-skilling & multi-skilling of the local workforce and ensuring relevance to industry.

He holds a Bachelor of Business Studies, Administration & Management – Marketing (Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia), ASEAN CEO Leadership Programme (Oxford University, UK), ASEAN CEO Programme (Cranfield University, UK); Professional Certification of Human Resource Management (Cambridge University, UK); Professional Certification on Big Data Analytics (Harvard University, USA).

Dato’ Vicks also sits on the Boards of HRDF, the Penang Skills Development Centre (PSDC), the Malaysia Convention & Exhibition Bureau (MyCEB), the ICLIF Leadership Energy Awards 2017 (Advisory Council) and is the President Elect for the International Federation of Training and Development (IFTDO).

​​Dato’ Hamidah Naziadin Group Chief People Officer, CIMB Group Chief Executive Officer, CIMB Foundation

Dato’ Hamidah Naziadin has 30 years’ experience in HR in the financial industry, of which 27 were with CIMB. She provides overall strategic leadership for HR across ASEAN to develop an agile, high-performing regional workforce.

She has led HR’s transformation from an administrative function into a key business enabler, contributing to CIMB’s rapid growth into the leading ASEAN financial institution that it is today. She strategised the resource integration in successful mergers and acquisitions over the years, within Malaysia and across ASEAN and APAC regions. She has also implemented strategic HR programmes that have earned peer and industry recognition through numerous awards.

She continuously strengthens workplace culture and compliance through employee engagement, and has developed workplace wellness policies and programmes towards sustaining a productive and inspiring work environment.

On top of that, she also spearheads CSR in community development, sports and education initiatives with diversity and inclusion as the guiding principles, to deliver sustainable benefits for the communities in the region. She is passionate about championing thought leadership through industry talks and publications on issues around women empowerment, and education/development for youths and graduates. She is a member of the Board of Directors at Maxis Berhad and holds a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Wolverhampton, UK.


​​Tan Sri Dr. Munir Majid Chairman, CIMB ASEAN Research Institute President, ASEAN Business Club

Tan Sri Dr. Munir is currently Chairman of CIMB ASEAN Research Institute, of Bank Muamalat Malaysia Berhad, of the Financial Services Professional Board, of ASEAN Business Advisory Council, Malaysia, as well as President of the ASEAN Business Club. He also sits on the board of the Institute of Strategic and International Studies (ISIS) Malaysia and on the Financial Services Talent Council of Bank Negara Malaysia.

He has an extensive experience and is well known in the Malaysian corporate world. He had been the Group Editor of the New Straits Times, first executive chairman of CIMB and founding chairman of the Malaysian Securities Commission. After stepping down from the Securities Commission, he became Independent Non-Executive Director of Telekom Malaysia Berhad, Chairman of Celcom (Malaysia) Berhad and Non-Executive Chairman of Malaysian Airline System Berhad. He was Founder President of the Kuala Lumpur Business Club, established in 2003 and is a member of the Court of Fellows of the Malaysian Institute of Management.

Tan Sri Dr. Munir obtained a B.Sc (Econ) and Ph.D in International Relations from the London School of Economic and Political Science (LSE) in 1971 and 1978. He is an Honorary Fellow of LSE and continues the long association with his alma mater as Visiting Senior Fellow at the Centre of International Affairs, Diplomacy and Strategy. Tan Sri Dr. Munir is an associate of Southeast Asia Centre (SEAC) at LSE.

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