Myanmar HR survey – Finding and retaining talent

Myanmar HR survey – Finding and retaining talent

October 14, 2018

The way forward on how to overcome the major challenge of finding and retaining talent in Myanmar

"Finding the right talent remains the biggest challenge for us. Part of the reason is the weak education system."

Head of HR
International consumer goods company

More than half of large companies in Myanmar, indicated that finding and retaining talent is a major issue that even hinders them from investing and growing. The first comprehensive Myanmar HR study investigated how business can increase their overall talent pool by analyzing responses of more than 750 participants including HR managers, employees and job-seekers.

As one of the last frontier markets, Myanmar has experienced high growth rates and business across industries are looking for talents. Given the limited overall talent pool, local and international firms in Myanmar are all facing the same problem. But some companies are better at attracting and retaining talent than other ones. We have identified three reasons that distinguishes successful from less successful companies when it comes to talent management in Myanmar:

Employers and employees need to transparently share what both parties expect from each other in order to increase retention.

  1. Understanding your employees: There is a general lack of understanding between employers and (future) employees regarding what motivates people to join, stay or leave the firm. In crucial aspects throughout the job lifecycle, there is a large gap between what employers think is important versus what employees say is crucial for them. Employers in Myanmar have not fully understood the needs and motivational drivers of their employees, yet. The study indicates gaps between what employers think their employees want and what employees actually want.
  2. Training and opportunities to learn and grow : One of the key reason for employees (24%) to join a company is the ability to learn. This should not come as a surprise, given the lack of formal education in the country. Myanmar employees are keen to develop their skill set – hard skills as well as soft skills. This drive of employees to learn is something that Myanmar firms should tap into and nurture. Unfortunately, trainings in Myanmar are not yet widespread or effective. 54% of employees at small companies have no training at all. 31% of employees' at large firms even have no training at all.
  3. Strategic HR planning: Human Resources management in Myanmar is often conducted in an ad hoc manner, rather than strategically: even 38% of large firms confirm that their HR planning is not derived from strategic planning.

Going forward, companies need to gain a better understanding about their employees along the job life cycle. This is easier said than done. It will require much more engagement between Human Resources staff and employees, as well as effective exit interview with employees leaving the organization. Secondly, Myanmar organizations should continue to invest in skills development and training. High employee turnover should not be an excuse not to invest in trainings. Rather, trainings should be seen as contributing to less employee turnover. Thirdly, many companies in Myanmar need to transform their HR department from an administrative function to a more strategic function. By doing so, we are convinced that business in Myanmar are able to enlarge their overall talent pool in order to grow sustainably.

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Myanmar HR survey – Finding and retaining talent


The first comprehensive HR study in Myanmar reveals the challenges in finding and retaining talents and points out ways how to overcome it.

Published October 2018. Available in
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