Singapore banks seeking more diverse talent to keep up with industry changes

Singapore banks seeking more diverse talent to keep up with industry changes

Some banks say while having the appropriate certification will still remain relevant for certain roles, the emphasis has shifted towards having the right skills and experience.

SINGAPORE: As the financial services industry evolves, banks in Singapore are hiring a more diverse group of talents. They said this can allow them to better meet the needs of a changing consumer base and help boost their competitiveness.

Some banks have said that having the appropriate certifications will still remain relevant for certain roles. But as the industry evolves, they said the emphasis has shifted towards having the right skills and experience for some of the jobs.

Ms Rena Teng joined Standard Chartered Bank 10 years ago. She was a polytechnic graduate and full-time national athlete then. Now, Ms Teng is senior manager of corporate affairs at the bank. During this time, she had the opportunity to study part-time and obtain a university degree. Ms Teng said she was able to take her personal development to the next level, with support from the bank.

"I told myself not to sell myself short. Because as long as I keep a positive mindset about willing to go out of my comfort zone and stretch my limit, I think that will help me progress within the organisation,” she said. “From then on, I told myself to keep looking out for the opportunities I could experience and see within the bank, and keep leveraging and pursuing them.”

In particular, growing digital technology means a greater need for suitable talent in areas like cyber security and mobile development. And casting their nets wider, to include polytechnic graduates for example, gives the banks greater choice.

“Having a diverse pool of talent within the bank is a core strength for us,” said Mr James Loo, senior vice president for talent acquisition, group human resources, at DBS Bank. “When you have a pool of talent with different backgrounds, from different disciplines, working cohesively towards a common vision and goal of the bank, this gives us tremendous strength as a bank. It allows us to see things from different perspectives, and take into consideration different viewpoints, and see things from different lenses, and allows us to make better decisions.”

The efforts are in line with SkillsFuture initiatives recently announced for the financial services sector by Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam to build a strong core of Singaporeans at every level in the industry.

It includes subsidies and scholarships for fresh hires as well as mid-career professionals, and schemes to groom executives for top level positions.

United Overseas Bank said over 90 per cent of its 8,000 employees in Singapore are citizens or Permanent Residents, and it said its Leadership Academy runs programmes to equip individuals with leadership skills, prepare middle managers, and coach senior leaders to make strategic impact across the bank.

Meanwhile, OCBC Bank said it is supportive of the Earn and Learn Programme offered under the SkillsFuture initiative, and it plans to explore positions for polytechnic graduates under this programme, particularly in areas such as cyber security, trade finance operations and mobile development.

Source: CNA/xq