SINGAPORE: The Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS), Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), Ministry of Manpower (MOM), National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) and the Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF) has set out an advisory to strengthen human resource practices in the banking sector.

The advisory is one of the initiatives under the jobs and skills agenda of the Financial Services Industry Transformation Map (ITM), and aims to set out good practices for banks in hiring, reskilling, redeployment and retrenchment of employees, as well as provides guidance on developing a deep and diverse talent pool of both local and foreign professionals in the banking industry.

Speaking at the launch on Wednesday (Mar 14), Senior Minister of State for Law and Finance, Ms Indranee Rajah, said that against a backdrop of digitisation and automation, and “as the financial sector undergoes change, the financial sector world will also have to transform”. 

She added that “a sound and competitive financial centre must be underpinned by a versatile and resilient workforce”, and that to achieve sustainable growth, Singapore must ensure that its financial sector workforce “keeps up and remains relevant”.

The advisory calls on banks to assess the likely impact of technological changes to their workforce, and to work with the MAS, the Institute of Banking and Finance, and Workforce Singapore to reskill and redeploy their employees into areas of job growth through professional conversion programmes.

It also encourages banks to adopt inclusive hiring practices focused on the skills required to perform a job, rather than setting a strict minimum number of years of experience; as well as to conduct any retrenchment exercise responsible, and to work with tripartite partners to support affected employees.

Ms Indranee said the need for a tripartite approach was necessary because “solutions involve multiple stakeholders”, including the government, banks, unions and individuals, and that “each stakeholders must play their part”.

On the Government’s part, Ms Indranee said that MAS has played a “key role in developing a strong jobs and skills agenda for the financial sector”, working on various fronts to “expand the talent pool, deepen skill sets, develop leaders”. 

She added that while there has been “good progress”, the MAS is keen to “do more” with financial institutions and unions under the tripartite movement to keep up with the sector’s needs.

All ABS members, accounting for nearly 160 banks, have committed to adopting the tripartite advisory.

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