NTUC: Banking PMEs must upskill as more layoffs loom

New job opportunities are emerging in Singapore's banking sector despite a string of recent moves by foreign banks to lay off staff, NTUC assistant secretary-general Patrick Tay said yesterday.

But people working in the sector must keep expanding their skillset to adapt to the industry's changing landscape, he said in a blog post.

Mr Tay, who is also a Member of Parliament and the leader of the union's financial and business services cluster, said NTUC's dialogues with employees in the sector have revealed job growth in areas of compliance, risk management and IT.

He cited examples such as compliance and risk management jobs in areas of anti-money laundering, business continuity management and data protection.

"In the area of IT, more companies in the financial sector are investing and enhancing capabilities in the digital space including e-payments and e-commerce, data management, data analytics and cyber security," he said.

Still, banking professionals, managers and executives (PMEs) must be prepared for uncertainties.

"In particular, I worry for Singaporeans working in foreign banks as many of the decisions are made at the global HQ. We have seen hints with the challenges faced by several large global and regional banks and also several going on wage freezes locally," he added.

Mr Tay's blog post followed news of job cuts by Barclays last month and Standard Chartered in November, both affecting Singapore, as foreign banks scale down their Asian presence to cut costs.

With more layoffs looking likely amid the challenging economic headwinds, "PMEs must continue to upskill or take up a second skill, so as to future-proof themselves", Mr Tay urged. "If necessary, they need to be prepared to manage their expectations as remuneration in other sectors may not be as lucrative as in the financial sector."

Mr Tay added that employers must also play a part in developing human capital, focusing on a strong local core.

NTUC is forming a financial services tripartite committee with the Government and the banking sector to chart the industry's future in talent development. More details will be announced today.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 17, 2016, with the headline 'NTUC: Banking PMEs must upskill as more layoffs loom'. Print Edition | Subscribe