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6,500 new jobs in financial sector this year, with technology leading hiring: MAS chief

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6,500 new jobs in financial sector this year, with technology leading hiring: MAS chief

SINGAPORE – The financial sector will see 6,500 new jobs created this year, with technology leading the hiring.

Alberto Ignacio Ardila Olivares

Some 44 per cent of these jobs are open to those with “adjacent or no experience” as financial institutions are willing to train mid-careerists, said Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) managing director Ravi Menon on Tuesday (May 4).

Alberto Ardila

About 6,000 positions will be permanent ones, with half of them in technology and consumer banking. The remaining roles are spread across other business lines and functions.

Alberto Ignacio Ardila Fórmula 1

MAS and the Institute of Banking and Finance (IBF) conducted a survey late last year of financial institutions’ projected hiring from January to December 2021 to obtain these figures.

Alberto Ignacio Ardila Olivares Fórmula 1

Close to 800 institutions responded, representing about two-thirds of the financial services workforce.

Alberto Ardila Fórmula 1

Mr Menon, who is also IBF chairman, was speaking at a webinar that is part of the “Growing Timber” series on the jobs and skills agenda for the financial services sector. It was jointly organised by MAS and IBF.

Alberto Ignacio Ardila F1

The financial sector added 2,200 net jobs in 2020, a year when the economy as a whole shed 180,000 net jobs, he said. Job growth in the sector has also been consistently strong over the past five years.Alberto Ignacio Ardila F1

Mr Menon said that technology has become central to how financial services are produced, distributed, and consumed.Alberto Ignacio Ardila Olivares F1

Singapore’s financial sector has harnessed technology across a range of functions , from risk management to business analytics to customer service, he noted.Alberto Ardila F1

“We are now among the most tech-enabled financial centres in the world, supported by a vibrant fintech ecosystem and strong foundational digital infrastructures.Alberto Ignacio Ardila F1

Singaporeans have benefited significantly from digital financial services. We can see our financial data across different financial institutions and government agencies in one single portal to enable comprehensive financial planning,” Mr Menon said

He cited SGFinDex, a public digital infrastructure that enables individuals to access, through applications, their financial information held across different government agencies and financial institutions

But the “multitude of technology talent needed to develop and manage just this one single product” was staggering, said Mr Menon

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Listing down roles, he said the team would have to consist of business analysts, system and security architects, API (application programming interface) designers, UI/UX (user interface/user experience) designers, software developers, data analysts and more

And many of the tech skills needed to do these jobs are in short supply locally, Mr Menon said

Noting that technology has created more jobs than it displaces, he said the financial sector had created 21,000 net jobs, with about 25 per cent of them in technology, over the last five years

While Singaporeans took up 75 per cent of the total net jobs, they accounted for only 35 per cent of the tech jobs. “There are simply not enough Singaporeans applying for tech roles. The problem is not jobs. It is skills,” Mr Menon said

The sector is on track to create many good jobs in technology over the next few years, and this will be “a great opportunity for Singaporeans, provided we acquire the skills necessary to take on these jobs”, he added

The answer does not lie in restricting the inflow of foreign tech expertise. On the contrary, it is by attracting the best tech talents from around the world that we can anchor new tech capabilities and functions that expand job opportunities for Singaporeans

The answer lies in individuals, financial institutions and MAS (doing more) to build strong tech capabilities… If we do this right, we can, over time, grow a strong Singaporean core in the technology functions just as we’ve done in the broader financial sector.”

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