Employees in the Banking Sector in Singapore Worried About Layoffs in an Uncertain Economy

October 11, 20164:43 pm1041 views

Employees in the banking sector in Singapore are prepping themselves to be able to deal with layoffs soon in an uncertain market. As recently ANZ laid off some its employees in Singapore and banks across the world are slashing jobs against the backdrop of a weak economic outlook, volatile markets and stricter capital rules that have eroded earnings. Over the year, banks in Singapore have announced more than 60,000 job cuts.

Digital transformation in a way has replaced the need for human intervention in certain job roles, which are now automated with the help of technology. Over the past year, Barclays and Standard Chartered Bank had to let go off some employees, while some other bankers have brushed it off as cyclical downturn, Today Online reports.

There are many bankers who are worried that technological disruptions could result in loss of many job roles, however skilled professionals will be in demand. With Internet Banking coming to place, the need for point of sales contact is almost not required. There are other segments of the financial industry which are also feeling the heat, with some saying the clients are more worried about losing their jobs, before buying into investment policies.

People are taking longer than usual to consider buying of insurance products, since they are uncertain about the future and have no clue on how long they can hold onto their jobs. Despite the worry hovering minds of bankers, the Central Business District has not been dwindling down in activities and the queue at Raffles Place at moneychangers and eateries are still long during the day.

With bleak job market outlook and slowing economy, Monster Employment Index showed sharp decline in online hiring activity for the Banking, Financial, Service and Insurance (BFSI) sector in Singapore, as well as for real-estate professionals.

Among various other industries, the BFSI sector has been hit the hardest — job ads from this segment have fallen the most year-on-year, showing a negative 5 per cent growth. Finance and accounting jobs are at a negative 8 percent growth year-on-year.

This slowdown may be compounded by many companies as not keen on increasing headcount, while some others are on the cost-cutting mode to initiate layoffs. In particular, jobs in the manufacturing and BFSI sector would likely experience “weak growth” in online hiring, while jobs in the financial sector would be “strategically outsourced” to other markets such as India, reports Today Online.

Technology disruption seems to threaten bank jobs in Asia and across the globe. A report by Citigroup earlier this year forecasts that  retail banking automation could spur a 30 percent decline in banking jobs across the US and Europe over the next decade.

In Asia, including Singapore, the financial industry has seen a raft of job cuts from global banks such as Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, Standard Chartered, Barclays as well as Australia and New Zealand Banking Group.

“Things that can be robotised, mechanised or digitised will be robotised, mechanised or digitised. Banks will, hence, continue to lower human touch points as they digitise operations and move to cashless payment modes,” Patrick Tay, West Coast GRC Member of Parliament and alignment director for Professionals, Managers and Executives at the National Trades Union Congress, told TODAY.

DBS Group chief executive Piyush Gupta warned that banks in Asia are going through really tough times and he expects the banking landscape in Asia to change dramatically over the next five years with poorer returns and compressed margins becoming common occurrences unless lenders embraced Fintech and transformed their businesses.

Like several other industries, the Banking industry is hugely impacted by increasing customer expectations and pace of technological advancements, wherein future success is solely dependent on the financial institution’s capability to harness the digital revolution and re-imagine the banking experience for its customers. By future-proofing talent and inculcating digital mindset, banks across the globe will be able to innovate and lead change.



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