J.P. Morgan – Asia Society One Step Ahead Series


Workforce Readiness in ASEAN Member States: Implications of an ASEAN Economic Community

Half day symposium in Singapore
Free admission; Registration needed

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complete and return form to programhk@asiasociety.org




The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) community of 10 nations - Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam - is one of the most diverse regions in the world - ethnically, culturally, religiously and economically. Economic growth in the region reached 4.7 percent in 2014, underpinned by strong domestic demand. Meanwhile, per capita income that year increased to US$4,136.

With a combined GDP of US$2.5 trillion in 2014, if ASEAN was one economy, it would be the seventh largest in the world. With a total population of 622 million people, it has a working population of 263 million. Following the People’s Republic of China and India, ASEAN has the world’s third largest labor force, and one that is relatively young - more than 65 percent of ASEAN’s population is under the age of 35. Meantime, there are 14 million migrant workers in the region as intra-ASEAN migration continues to accelerate over the past two decades, with Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand the most popular target destinations.

This as ASEAN rapidly approaches a new milestone, with the highly anticipated establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) by the end of 2015. The AEC is expected to transform Southeast Asia into a single market for production, distribution, investment and skilled labor movement, paving the way for greater economic development of the entire region. It is a significant step in the region’s post-1997 reorientation - away from its traditional economic partners such as Japan, the United States and the European Union - and towards the region itself as well as to emerging markets such as China and India.

The AEC aims to promote skilled labor mobility to increase job opportunities and connectivity across the region. As it becomes more dynamic and competitive, the demand for medium-skilled and high-skilled workers is expected to increase. This will require stronger education and training policies with curricula that match national development priorities. At the same time, employers’ and employees’ organizations must be key partners in tackling the skills challenge.

The half day symposium will focus on the skill gap issues within the ASEAN region, with particular emphasis on the ‘ASEAN Five’ – Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. Key stakeholders including leaders from academia, industry and government will address existing skills gap issues, why some nations have been more successful than others in managing this, and exploring solutions on how to meet these challenges.


08:15 – 09:00 Guest Registration
09:00 – 09:15 Opening Remarks
  • Ronnie C. Chan, Co-Chair, Asia Society; Chairman, Asia Society
    Hong Kong Center
  • Nicolás Aguzin, Chairman & CEO, Asia Pacific, J.P. Morgan Chase
  • Chan Heng Chee, Vice-Chair, Asia Society; Ambassador-at-Large,
    Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Singapore
09:15 – 09:30

Keynote Address: The Impact of the ASEAN Economic Community
on Employment Needs in the Region

The ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) aims to integrate ASEAN countries
into a single market and production base, create a highly competitive
economic region with equitable economic development that is fully
integrated into the global economy. This is an ambitious effort to deepen
market integration with the flow of goods, services and investment, a
freer flow of financial capital, enhanced connectivity and expanded
opportunities for intra-regional labor migration. A more dynamic and
competitive community will increase the demand for medium-skilled and
high-skilled workers. To meet these requirements, stronger education and
training policies are imperative and must match national development
priorities. Employers’ and workers’ organizations should be key partners in
tackling the skills challenge. Governments in the region should also
cooperate to address skills gaps issues and share best practices in the
recognition of skills. This address will examine how a more competitive
economic community will impact on the employment needs of a nation
and the wider implications for a more competitive region.

  • Jusuf Wanandi, Co-Founder, Centre for Strategic and International Studies 
09:30 – 09:45

Research Findings: Understanding the Skills Gap Issues in the
ASEAN Five and in China

J.P. Morgan has commissioned research seeking to understand the skills
gaps issues in five major ASEAN countries - Indonesia, Malaysia,
Philippines, Singapore and Thailand, and also China. The research assesses
the demand for major skills in ASEAN Five and China based on economic
growth strategies and projected structural changes. The preliminary
findings of the projects will be released, as well as some recommendations
on how to meet the challenges, setting the stage for the subsequent panel

  • James Tang, Dean, School of Social Sciences, Singapore Management University
09:45 – 10:35

Panel I: Understanding the Skills Gap Issues in the ASEAN Five:
A Macro Perspective

Structural change as a result of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) is
likely to increase the demand for a mix of managerial, technical and core
employability skills. Meantime, intra-regional labor mobility helps boosts
national production, with migrant workers - albeit predominantly low-skilled
- easing labor shortages in the fast-growing economies. Improving access
to secondary education, as well as to technical and vocational education
training is a priority in addressing human resources needs for ASEAN
member states. With such diverse levels of development within the
community, which of the ASEAN countries are faring better in handling the
skills gap issue and which less so? What is the potential impact on the
economic structures of ASEAN member states if skills mismatches are not
addressed? With low enrolment rates for secondary, technical and vocational
education in ASEAN, how will this affect the success of the AEC? What would
be the impact to the AEC if this trend continues without any mitigation
measures? What is the collective role in preparing workers for
medium-skilled, well-paying jobs that will contribute to the region’s
economic growth? What can member states do to reduce skills mismatches
to meet the employers’ standards and expectations? How can governments
promote and develop projected demand for different skills?

  • Curtis S. Chin, Asia Fellow, Milken Institute; Former U.S. Ambassador
    to the Asian Development Bank
  • Arnoud De Meyer, President, Singapore Management University
  • Rastam Mohd Isa, Chairman & CEO, Institute of Strategic and
    International Studies, Malaysia 
  • Clay Chandler, Author, Editor and Principal, The Barrenrock
    Group (Moderator)
10:35 – 11:05 Coffee Break
11:05 – 11:55

Panel II: Addressing the Gaps: Fulfilling the Needs for a Growing
Medium-Skilled Workforce

Labor markets in the ASEAN region have undergone significant structural
change over the past decade. One consequence has been a decline in the
significance of agriculture which now accounts for 40 percent of total
employment, having been overtaken by services at 40.6 percent, and the
remaining 19.4 percent accounted for by industry. The shift in employment
patterns from agriculture to manufacturing and services sectors has
resulted in a greater demand for medium-skilled workers with basic
education attainment, literacy and numeracy skills. Yet limited access to
primary education - particularly girls - reduces the supply of
medium-skilled labor in the region, hindering the economic transition.
Securing universal primary education and full literacy to boost the supply of
medium-skilled workers is critical to the economic transformation of ASEAN.
Meantime, improving access to secondary education, as well as technical
and vocational training also eases the transition from school to the
workplace. How is the economic transition of the hugely diverse ASEAN
region impacting on the needs of the workforce? Is the under-qualification
of labor skills a serious concern? How is the skills gap issue affecting
business operations in different sectors? What are the needs of industry that 
are not being met? What can stakeholders do to shape education in a way
that helps match employers with employees? What policies or initiatives
can ASEAN take to secure the supply of medium-skilled labor? What are
some of the successful practices that may be relevant to ASEAN economies?

  • Alfredo I. Ayala, President & CEO, Ayala Education, Inc. & LiveIt
    Investments Limited
  • Chanin Donavanik, Managing Director & CEO, Dusit International
  • Makiko Matsumoto, Employment Specialist, Asia-Pacific, International
    Labour Organization
  • Chua Soon Ghee, Partner & Head of Southeast Asia, A.T. Kearney
11:55 – 12:25

Keynote Dialogue: Industry Leader Viewpoint: How will the ASEAN
Economic Community Change the Competitive Landscape and

While the target towards full implementation of the ASEAN Economic
Community (AEC) in December 2015 may not be on schedule, the free flow
of labor and capital to encourage change is expected to accelerate economic
expansion. In this closing keynote dialogue, a leading business leader will
outline how the AEC will change the competitive landscape in the industry, in
the ASEAN region, and the implications for the hiring and retention of

  • Emirsyah Satar, Chairman, MatahariMall.com; Former President & CEO, Garuda Indonesia
  • Ronnie C. Chan, Co-Chair, Asia Society; Chairman, Hang Lung Properties
12:25 – 12:35 Closing Remarks
  • Edmund Lee, Senior Country Officer, Singapore, J.P. Morgan
12:35 – 14:00

Buffet Lunch
Town Restaurant, Lobby Level


Speakers' Biographies


Alfredo I. Ayala
President & Chief Executive Officer, Ayala Education, Inc. & LiveIt Investments Limited
Alfredo I. Ayala is President and Chief Executive Officer of Ayala Education and LiveIt, Ayala Corporation’s holding companies for its education and business process outsourcing (B.P.O.) companies. Ayala Education is focused on delivering high quality, affordable education that can significantly enhance middle and lower income students’ employability, and expand the pool of well-trained graduates for the rapidly growing I.T.-B.P.O. and service sectors. Ayala Education invests in both basic education (through “Affordable Private Education Centers”, a chain of 23 low cost private high schools formed in partnership with UK-based Pearson) and higher education (through “Learning with Industry Collaboration” in partnership with local higher education institutions). Ayala Education recently acquired University of Nueva Caceres in the Bicol region, Philippines, with approximately 7,000 students. Mr. Ayala attended the Ateneo de Manila, and received his B.A. in development studies and economics from Brown University and M.B.A. from Harvard University.

Ronnie C. Chan
Co-Chair, Asia Society; Chairman, Hang Lung Properties

Ronnie C. Chan is Chairman of Hang Lung Properties. He is also Co-Chair of the Asia Society and Chairman of the Asia Society Hong Kong Center. In addition, Mr. Chan serves as Chairman of the One Country Two Systems Research Institute and the Better Hong Kong Foundation, Convenor of the Hong Kong Development Forum, Governing Board member of the China-United States Exchange Foundation, Advisor and former Vice President of the China Development Research Foundation in Beijing. He is Director of the Board of the Peterson Institute for International Economics, member of the Council on Foreign Relations and former member of the governing boards of the World Economic Forum. Mr. Chan holds an M.B.A. from the University of Southern California. 

Clay Chandler
Author, Editor and Principal, The Barrenrock Group

Clay Chandler is an author, editor and principal at The Barrenrock Group, a Hong Kong-based consultancy where he advises leading global services firms and investment funds. Between 2008 and2013, Mr. Chandler was Asia Editor for McKinsey & Company, where he worked to develop and share the firm’s knowledge, insight and ideas. Prior to joining McKinsey, he was an award-winning journalist. Mr. Chandler served as Asia Editor for Fortune, where he contributed cover stories from around the region and represented the magazine at high-profile gatherings including Fortune’s Global Forum, as well as meetings of the World Economic Forum in China. Mr. Chandler joined Fortune after a decade at the Washington Post where his postings included Washington, D.C.‐based chief economic correspondent and Hong Kong‐based Asian economic correspondent. He also served as Tokyo correspondent for The Wall Street Journal. Mr. Chandler is a graduate of Harvard University.

Curtis S. Chin
Asia Fellow, Milken Institute; Former U.S. Ambassador to the Asian Development Bank

Curtis S. Chin is the inaugural Asia Fellow of the Milken Institute and Managing Director of advisory firm RiverPeak Group, LLC. He served as the 15th U.S. Ambassador to the Asian Development Bank. Mr. Chin is a member of the advisory board of Dolma Impact Fund, the first international equity fund focused on Nepal and Equator Pure Nature, an ASEAN-based start-up and pioneer in natural cleaning products. Mr. Chin also serves as a trustee of World Education Services of New York. His Asia-U.S. commentary appears on the BBC, CNBC, CNN and in the Bangkok Post, Fortune, Japan Times, Nikkei Asian Review, Singapore Straits Times, South China Morning Post and the Wall Street Journal. Mr. Chin is a graduate of Northwestern University with a focus on journalism and economics and holds a master's degree in public and private management from Yale University.

Chua Soon Ghee
Partner & Head of Southeast Asia, A.T. Kearney

Chua Soon Ghee is a Partner and Head of Southeast Asia for A.T. Kearney, a global management consulting firm with offices in 40 countries and over US$1 billion in annual revenues. Mr. Chua has more than 18 years of experience in both consulting and industry advising global corporations on strategic and operational improvement topics. He is the author of the Wiley-published book “Asian Mergers and Acquisitions: Riding the Wave”, the AEC whitepaper “Countdown to 2015 – Creating ASEAN Champions”, and “Lifting the Barriers to E-commerce in ASEAN”, a joint publication with CIMB ASEAN Research Institute. Mr. Chua has been featured on TV with CNBC, BBC and ChannelNewsAsia, and is also a frequent speaker in regional forums on ASEAN and AEC-related topics. He has a B.Sc. in electrical engineering and economics from Caltech and an M.Sc. in electrical engineering from Stanford University.

Arnoud De Meyer
President, Singapore Management University

Arnoud De Meyer is the fourth President of Singapore Management University. Prior to this, he was Director of Judge Business School at the University of Cambridge and Professor of Management Studies and Fellow of Jesus College. He was also the Founding Dean of INSEAD’s Asia Campus in Singapore. Prof. De Meyer is an external director of Dassault Systèmes SA in France. In Singapore, he serves on the board of directors of the Human Capital Leadership Institute, National Research Foundation, Singapore International Chamber of Commerce, Singapore Symphonia Company Limited and Temasek Management Services. He is also a member of the China Europe International Business School Academic Council as well as the Renmin University School of Business International Advisory Committee. Prof. De Meyer has an M.Sc. in electrical engineering, M.B.A. and Ph.D. in management from the University of Ghent in Belgium.

Chanin Donavanik
Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer, Dusit International

Chanin Donavanik is Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Dusit International, a leading Asian hospitality group founded more than 65 years ago. Under his leadership, Dusit International has evolved into a fast-growing company, with a number of hotel and resort locations worldwide and a significant pipeline of new properties under development. Dusit International also owns and operates the Dusit Thani College, a private educational institution offering culinary and hospitality management programs; Le Cordon Bleu Dusit Culinary School in partnership with the Paris-based institute; and the soon-to-launch Dusit Thani Hotel School, Thailand’s first hospitality school based on ASEAN common competency standards for tourism professionals. Mr. Donavanik is Chairman of the Thai Chamber of Commerce’s Committee on Tourism and Service Business and Past President of the Thai Hotels Association and ASEAN Hotel and Restaurant Association. Mr. Donavanik received his M.B.A. from Boston University. 

Makiko Matsumoto
Employment Specialist, Asia-Pacific, International Labour Organization
Makiko Matsumoto joined the International Labour Organization (ILO) in Geneva in 1998, and since 2013 has been an employment specialist in the Decent Work Technical Support Team for East and Southeast Asia and the Pacific. She has actively contributed to the ILO’s research projects on the labor market at the global, regional and country levels including in the school-to-work transition of young women and men, women’s participation and employment in the Asia Pacific, and macroeconomic policy framework that promotes productive and decent employment. Ms. Matsumoto has been providing employment-related policy advisory work for countries in East and South-East Asia, Central Asia, Central Europe and East Africa. She has also contributed to numerous training activities for the employment policy makers. Ms. Matsumoto holds an M.Sc. from the London School of Economics and Political Science and is a doctoral candidate at the Hitotsubashi University. 

Rastam Mohd Isa
Chairman & Chief Executive, Institute of Strategic and International Studies, Malaysia

Rastam Mohd Isa is Chairman and Chief Executive of the Institute of Strategic and International Studies in Malaysia. Prior to this, he was Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and has served as High Commissioner to Pakistan, Ambassador to Bosnia Herzegovina and Indonesia, and Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York. He is Chairman of the board of directors of a Malaysian public listed company and sits as Director on the board of two others. Tan Sri Rastam is Chairman of the Malaysian National Committee for the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council and Chairman of the Malaysian National Committee of the Council for Security Cooperation in the Asia Pacific, and was Advisor at the Chief Minister’s Department in Sarawak. Tan Sri Rastam graduated from Universiti Sains Malaysia, received his M.A. from the University of Lancaster and holds a Certificate of Diplomacy from the University of Oxford.

Emirsyah Satar
Chairman, MatahariMall.com; Former President & Chief Executive Officer, Garuda Indonesia

Emirsyah Satar is Chairman of MatahariMall.com, an ecommerce venture recently launched by the Lippo Group and serves as a member of the Board of Management at the Lippo Group. Mr. Satar was previously President and Chief Executive Officer of Garuda Indonesia, and played a major role in the airline’s financial restructuring process carried out in 2001, amounting to US$ 1.8 billion. He has served as Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Bank Danamon Tbk and held key positions in several multinational companies including Citibank N.A, Jan Darmadi Group and Niaga Finance, Hong Kong. Mr. Satar serves as an Independent Commissioner at PT Bank Danamon Indonesia Tbk; Honorary Advisor to the Indonesian Minister of Tourism and Vice Chairman of KADIN (Indonesian Chamber of Commerce). Mr. Satar received his degree in accounting from the University of Indonesia and completed academic programs at the Sorbonne University in Paris. 

James T.H. Tang
Dean, School of Social Sciences, Singapore Management University

James T.H. Tang is Dean and Professor of Political Science in the School of Social Sciences at Singapore Management University (SMU). Prof. Tang was previously Professor in the Department of Politics and Public Administration at the University of Hong Kong and Dean of Social Sciences. He has held visiting appointments at universities in China, the U.K. and the U.S. and was a Visiting Fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington, DC. Prof. Tang has published extensively in his field and serves on the editorial boards of a number of academic journals including Asian Politics and Policy, Journal of East Asian Studies, Pacific Review, Political Science and International Affairs of the Asia-Pacific. A graduate of the University of Hong Kong, he obtained his M.Phil. in international relations at Cambridge University and Ph.D. from the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Jusuf Wanandi, Co-Founder, Centre for Strategic and International Studies 
Jusuf Wanandi is Co-Founder and Senior Fellow of the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Jakarta and Vice Chairman of the board of trustees of the CSIS Foundation. He is Co-Chair of the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council, Co-Chair of the Council of Security Cooperation in Asia Pacific, Indonesia and Vice Chair of the Indonesian National Committee for the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council. Mr. Wanandi is also President Director of the publishing company of The Jakarta Post, Chairman of the Board of the Prasetiya Mulya Business School and Chairman of the Foundation of Panca Bhakti University in Pontianak, West Kalimantan. A lawyer by training, he has served in various national and international organizations. He was appointed Secretary of the Indonesian Supreme Advisory Council, Secretary General of the National Education Council and as a four-term representative in the People’s Consultative Assembly. 




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Event Details

Fri 13 Nov 2015
8:30 a.m. - 2 p.m.

Ballroom 2, Fullerton Hotel, Singapore
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Free Admission; Registration Required
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