Singapore Financial Sector Set for Hiring Spree: Central Bank

OCBC, DBS, UOB and Citibank ATMs at Tang Plaza in Singapore; taken September 2018.OCBC, DBS, UOB and Citibank ATMs at Tang Plaza in Singapore; taken September 2018.

This item originally ran on finews.asia.

Singapore, aiming to expand its role as a global financial center, is on track for a hiring spree this year, the central bank chief said Thursday.

Ravi Menon, the managing director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), the city-state’s central bank, said the financial sector is estimated to hire for more than 9,400 new permanent roles in the country this year.

More than 3,000 of those jobs will be in technology, with software developers and engineers in the highest demand, Menon said in a speech at the Singapore Financial Forum, according to a transcript published to the MAS website. Those roles include designing and developing digital financial services, applying blockchain technology to trade finance and systems to detect fraud and money laundering, he said.

New ESG Roles

Menon also pointed to expectations for new roles in sustainable finance, including executing environmental, social and governance (ESG) transactions. He said these jobs will likely draw on traditional finance expertise, such as risk management, but with a new focus on sustainability.

In comments which may help assuage concerns the city-state may make it more difficult to bring in global talent, Menon highlighted that recent move to change employment pass policies do not include quotas.

“Staying open to global talent has been critical to the growth and success of our financial center,” Menon said.

Menon’s comments on Singapore remaining open to expatriate workers comes as Hong Kong is seeing an exodus of foreign talent from its financial sector, largely due to extended Covid-related restrictions as the Chinese protectorate faced another wave of infections.

‘Staying Open to Global Talent’

Menon noted Singapore has eased its Covid-related restrictions.

“The pandemic-related border controls were very difficult for many of our expatriate staff and their families. Many firms faced challenges bringing in foreign manpower due to our border controls,” he said. “Today, we are in a much better state. We have reopened our borders and business travel has substantially resumed.  Global firms are now once again able to build up the necessary staff capacity to meet their expanding business needs.”

At the same time, Menon highlighted that the city-state is building a “Singaporean core” of local talent for the financial sector, including working to entice overseas Singaporeans back to the country. He noted MAS, Workforce Singapore (WSG) and the Institute of Banking & Finance (IBF) has set up training programs, including for mid-career transitions to wealth management and for technology jobs at financial institutions. The central bank estimated that more than 3,000 Singaporeans held senior financial sector roles in 2020, up more than 80 percent from 2016’s level, Menon said.