Measures to boost job prospects of Singaporeans in financial sector

Ravi Menon, managing director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore. - Bloomberg

SINGAPORE (The Straits Times/ANN): The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) announced more measures on Thursday (Nov 26) to help develop and retain a core Singaporean workforce for the financial services sector.

The measures were announced at a webinar on Thursday (Nov 26) organised jointly by MAS and the Institute of Banking and Finance (IBF), dubbed "Growing Timber".

Speaking at the event, Ravi Menon, MAS managing director of MAS and IBF chairman, said the financial sector is planning to offer 1,800 newly created jobs and 2,000 traineeships.

While the jobs are spread over different functions, the largest hiring demand is in technology, with 880 jobs.

MAS will roll out a new Work-Study Support Programme (WSSP) that will fund 80 per cent of the internship stipend, capped at S$1,000 per month, for Singaporean undergraduates who serve their internships at financial institutions.

This is to develop job-ready graduates and build a Singaporean talent pipeline for the sector.

The new scheme is part of the SkillsFuture Work-Study Degree Programme (WSDeg), which enables students to gain meaningful work experience and acquire work-relevant skills.

The financial services sector has been a major participant of the WSDeg programme since its introduction in 2017, and the WSSP will help scale the programme in strategic growth areas, said MAS.

MAS will also extend the Training Allowance Grant (TAG) for company-sponsored trainees by six months from Dec 31 to June 30 next year.

IBF will also extend its 5 per cent additional course fee credit to cover the period. The scheme aims at boosting job retention through upskilling workers amid changing tasks and roles.

TAG will keep up the training momentum of in-demand skills, such as technology, and in new growth areas, such as green finance, said MAS.

Since TAG and related measures were introduced on April 8 this year to help financial institutions and fintech firms retain staff and build longer term capabilities, there has been a 65 per cent year-on-year increase in training participation, it added.

MAS urged employers to continue to tap on the enhanced training support measures to equip locals with skills to enhance their employability in the sector.

Menon said creating jobs has become the central economic challenge, and jobs have also moved to the front and centre of MAS's financial development agenda.

"The success of economic policy is not measured by how financial markets are doing, not by how well companies are making new products, not even by how fast GDP (gross domestic products) is growing. The ultimate measure is this - Are we creating enough good jobs for our people?" said Menon.

In Singapore, the government has always been conscious that creating good jobs is of paramount importance. That is why in every downturn the focus of government support has been on sustaining jobs, keeping Singaporeans employed, he added.

The Growing Timber webinar is the first in a planned series of such events to provide a forum for the sector's key manpower issues, said MAS.

Menon the series is part of MAS's attempt to broaden and deepen its partnership with the financial industry and its professionals so as to strengthen the Singaporean core in financial services.

"Together we can transform the Singaporean workforce into the best globally," he said. - The Straits Times/Asia News Network

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