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160 banks in Singapore commit to inclusive hiring, to assess tech impact on jobs

SOME 160 banks under the Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS) will adhere to a new set of HR (human resources) practices that calls for banks here to be inclusive in their hiring choices, and in assessing the impact of technological changes, to re-skill their staff so they can move into new jobs.

The latest HR tripartite advisory, launched on Wednesday, also states that banks must conduct any retrenchment exercise "responsibly", and work with tripartite partners to support affected employees.

The aim is to build a "strong Singapore core" of talent in the financial sector. In being inclusive, banks are meant to hire based on skills required to perform in the job, rather than set a strict minimum number of years of experience or just hire on paper qualifications alone.

"Difficult as it may be, business as usual is not an option," said Senior Minister of State for Law and Finance Indranee Rajah at the launch.

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"As things stand, we are seeing two very contrasting phenomena - in 'hot' areas such as IT, there is a shortage of skilled talent, for instance, in data analytics and cybersecurity. On the other hand, we also know that firms could end up with surplus staff as they look to digitise and automate various aspects of their businesses."

The HR advisory was developed jointly by ABS, the Monetary Authority of Singapore, the Ministry of Manpower, the National Trades Union Congress, and the Singapore National Employers Federation.

The government aims to create 3,000 net jobs every year in financial services alone. Another 1,000 net jobs per annum is targeted to be created in the fintech sector. The jobs creation target was set last year under the Financial Services Industry Transformation Map.