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Financial firms must do more to retrain, match workers when disruption hits: Ong Ye Kung
Banks and financial institutions have to do more to retrain workers whose jobs are affected by disruptive changes in the finance industry and match them to new jobs, Education Minister Ong Ye Kung said on Monday, as he launched a road map that plans to create 3,000 net jobs in financial services, and another 1,000 financial technology jobs, annually.
Speaking at the launch of the financial services industry transformation map, Mr Ong noted that the most important aspect of any transformation plan lies in people.
However, he noted, when an existing activity is disrupted and jobs become at risk, the tendency is to lay off staff.
"But this cannot be the solution of first resort," he said.
"For professionals who have honed their craft over many years, a large part of what they already know can be reapplied within the financial services sector or in other adjacent sectors."
Without addressing the concerns of those affected by change, there can be no change, and by extension, no innovation, he added.
And so the Monetary Authority of Singapore will work with key financial institutions to make a strong push in implementing Professional Conversion Programmes (PCPs) to help their staff move into new jobs, including in growth areas such as technology and compliance.
The MAS is also working with partner agencies to expand career advisory and job-matching services for the financial services sector, to provide guidance on the training that financial services professionals will need and help those displaced to enrol in PCPs or seek new opportunities.
More broadly, Mr Ong noted that the financial services industry has to expand and deepen its talent pool, at a pace that can catch up with that of digitisation and automation, which are redefining job roles.
"We want to enable more Singaporeans to compete for and take on regional and even global leadership roles, across many financial institutions."
He noted that the MAS has supported financial institutions in sending promising Singaporeans for overseas postings, to gain international exposure and experience.
To develop deep capabilities, Mr Ong noted that Singapore also has to anchor the best international capabilities here and grow its own timber over time.
"MAS is working with the Ministry of Manpower and Workforce Singapore to pilot the Capability Transfer Programme, which supports the bringing in of international talent with specialised expertise and facilitates the transfer of capabilities to our local professionals," he said.
Aside from jobs and skills, the industry transformation map outlines other growth strategies for the financial services industry, such as developing Singapore as a centre of excellence for wealth management and creating a full-service Asian infrastructure financing hub here.
The ITM aims to achieve growth in financial sector real value-added of 4.3 per cent and productivity of 2.4 per cent annually, faster than the overall economy.