Financial sector workforce needs to be further transformed: Tharman

September 1, 20149:23 am456 views
Financial sector workforce needs to be further transformed: Tharman
Financial sector workforce needs to be further transformed: Tharman

SINGAPORE: Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam has said that future challenges facing the financial sector will require its workforce to be further transformed.

Speaking at the Singapore Bank Employees’ Union’s 60th anniversary dinner on Friday (Aug 29), he said the sector needs to be nimble amid technological change. The event was attended by about 600 representatives from the financial services sector.

Mr Tharman said: “Crises are now part and parcel of global finance, and have wider effects around the world than before. The last 15 years alone, we had three major crises and each time we had job losses. But after each crisis in fact the financial sector has recovered with greater strength, has continued to grow and as a result, today the financial sector employs 190,000 people, of whom almost three-quarters are Singaporeans.”

He said an important factor for this resilience has been a flexible wage system for rank-and-file workers in the sector. And it has reaped benefits – rank-and-file workers in the financial sector earn about 26 per cent more than their peers in other industries.

Mr Tharman said technology has also transformed the business of banking. In addition to the growth in mobile devices and online platforms, banks are also offering a wider range of products and customers have become more sophisticated. These trends will mean rising compliance requirements and more sophisticated tools to manage risks.

With these changes, Mr Tharman said jobs in the financial sector will become more complex and there will be more demand for skilled workers and Professional, Managerial and Executive (PME) roles.

He said: “The change in composition where there is more demand for PMEs compared to rank-and -file workers does not mean that rank-and-file workers have no role in the future of the financial sector, or in other sectors. They will continue to have an important role.

“In fact, even in the last 15 years, the overall number of clerical workers in the financial sector has remained largely stable even as the number of PME jobs increased by four times. But to keep this resilience and keep our jobs, it does mean that everyone has to up-skill.”



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