While the current macroeconomic situation has seen manufacturing and infrastructure reshoring as a major trend, one common factor that we see being critical to the entire effort is blue-collar workers. These hard-working members of society are out there on the front lines and–almost literally–build everything. Not limited to traditional sectors, they are at the core of making the new-age sectors such as eCommerce, Food Delivery & Ride-hailing work as well.  

With a BIG TAM, we have to wonder what could be some whitespaces in the market that are ready for disruption. We explore this in this article. 

01. In terms of absolute numbers, India is one of the biggest & fastest-growing countries for blue-collar workers, followed by SEA countries

Across South Asian countries we see ever-growing demand for such workers. While India is by far the biggest & rapidly growing. Other SEA countries such as Vietnam, Indonesia & Philippines are a close second.  

02.Combined SEA countries amount to a USD 1 Tn+ opportunity;

Blue collar workers- SEA vs India

While India, clearly looks like one of the biggest opportunities and has been at the center of funding.  
We see Southeast Asia as an opportunity area with cross country being a play. In terms of several blue-collar workers Southeast Asia might only have 12% more workers than India, but the wage bill is about twice as high. 

Within these countries, we look at Indonesia as a gateway to this opportunity with ~50% of the opportunity and then the local learning & intra ASEAN partnerships can be leveraged to expand to other countries. 

03. A full-stack, blue-collar HRMS platform – whitespace in SEA countries

One clear opportunity that we see in the market is a full-stack HRMS solution catering to end-to-end needs. So far this has been a whitespace in the region.  

The potential consumers want a service that helps them Find, Onboard, Train & Manage frontline workers. And this problem remains present for Lage Enterprises & MSMEs alike.  

And a potential first mover could easily create a moat. This positioning also helps players unlock additional opportunities in the form of Lending & Upskilling that individual companies are trying to solve in the market.

Image of additional opportunities that look interesting.


  • Roshan is a Partner at Redseer Strategy Consultants and is focused on Southeast Asia. He was ranked highly by key long-only and long-short institutional investors. He has organized several conferences, corporate events, and non-deal-roadshows.