CFOs says shortage of suitable skills in financial services sector a key in 2017

THE shortage of suitably skilled professionals is the most significant challenge facing Singapore's financial services sector in 2017, said recruitment company Robert Half.

Two out of five chief financial officers (CFOs) in Singapore said that the current skills shortage is the top factor which will impact the financial services sector this year, highlighting the necessity for companies to proactively address their hiring needs.

In addition to skills shortage, 2017 will also be shaped by Big Data and compliance pressures.

About one in three CFOs pointed to both Big Data analytics and technology-driven activities as having the greatest impact shaping the financial services sector in 2017. More than one in four identified compliance pressures.

Other key factors for the year include innovation, managing customer expectations and generational shifts, the survey said.

Matthieu Imbert-Bouchard, managing director at Robert Half Singapore, noted that Singapore's financial services sector has been impacted by the skills shortage for some time and that business leaders clearly expected the "war for talent" to continue this year.

"As Singaporean financial services companies endeavour to become more innovative by adopting new technologies, the challenges from the skills gap will inevitably be felt. Businesses need professionals with adequate tech-based skill sets to be able to fully address key factors like Big Data analytics and innovative business practices," he added.

Companies can also take steps to mitigate the impact of the skills shortage including investing in employee training. This not only upskills current finance teams, it can also underpin high retention levels, Mr Imbert-Bouchard said.

"Hiring contract and interim managers during peak periods or for special projects is a highly cost effective strategy that injects fresh ideas into a company, and prevents burdening employees with unrealistic workloads, which can negatively impact staff morale," he noted.

The annual survey was conducted in January by an independent research firm, surveying 100 CFOs and finance directors in Singapore. The poll was part of the international workplace survey, a questionnaire about job trends, talent management and trends in the workplace.

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