Singapore fintech firms to raise headcounts: Poll

Last year's Singapore FinTech Festival at the Singapore Expo. The fintech industry here is estimated to employ 6,500 to 10,000 people, based on the extrapolated results of a survey this year by the Singapore FinTech Association and audit firm PwC Sin
Last year's Singapore FinTech Festival at the Singapore Expo. The fintech industry here is estimated to employ 6,500 to 10,000 people, based on the extrapolated results of a survey this year by the Singapore FinTech Association and audit firm PwC Singapore. LIANHE ZAOBAO FILE PHOTO

Number of firms, staff likely to surge over next 12 to 36 months, industry body finds

Some 94 per cent of financial technology firms in Singapore intend to expand their current workforce within the next 12 months, according to a survey released yesterday.

About 28 per cent of respondents also expect to double their headcounts within the next 36 months.

The poll, jointly launched by the Singapore FinTech Association (SFA) and audit firm PwC Singapore, found that more than 40 per cent of firms employ 30 or more staff, and 31 per cent of respondents have between 11 and 30 workers.

The fintech industry in Singapore is estimated to employ 6,500 to 10,000 people, based on the extrapolated survey results.

The number of firms and employees within the industry is expected to surge over the next 12 to 36 months, with hiring expected to increase significantly.

According to respondents, the industry's talent shortage appears to have been mitigated.

Around 59 per cent of firms reported no talent shortfall, while 21 per cent of respondents reported a 0 to 25 per cent shortage across 13 unique roles, including business development, compliance and hardware development positions.

Around 59 per cent of firms reported no talent shortfall, while 21 per cent of respondents reported a 0 to 25 per cent shortage across 13 unique roles, including business development, compliance and hardware development positions.

The FinTech Talent Survey 2019 was done in April and received 93 responses covering 81 companies.

According to the poll, the average fintech firm in Singapore employs 10.8 people.

Most employees work in software and application development (43 per cent) and sales, marketing and business development (22 per cent).

Fintech refers to the use of innovative business models and technology to provide, enable and enhance financial services such as payment and fund transfers. These solutions are not limited by geographical borders.

Singapore's reputation as a financial hub, along with its fintech-friendly regulatory framework and well-educated workforce, puts it in a strong position to be a regional fintech leader.

According to recent research by global professional services firm EY, Singapore's fintech adoption has nearly tripled in just two years.

The research found that 67 per cent of consumers used fintech products and services this year compared with 27 per cent in 2017, above the global average of 64 per cent.

SFA president Chia Hock Lai said that with the Republic being "a leading regional financial centre and home to 40 per cent of fintech firms in Asean, job prospects in fintech remain strong in the coming years, with demand coming from both local firms and international firms that use Singapore as their gateway to the Asean region".

He told The Straits Times that the survey was done as a follow-up to a November 2017 survey conducted with more than 70 SFA members, which found that talent shortage was one of the key concerns among fintech firms here.

PwC fintech partner Wong Wanyi noted that while there is still much scope for growth in the fintech sector in the coming years, relying solely on foreign talent will not be sufficient to sustain this growth.

"It's very important for Singapore to continue to train and equip our workforce with the right skills and mindsets that will help the industry thrive in the long run," she said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 20, 2019, with the headline 'S'pore fintech firms to raise headcounts: Poll'. Print Edition | Subscribe