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New Guidelines To Help Banks Retrain Staff Amid Tech Changes

Straits Times: New guidelines have been drawn up to help banks retrain staff amid rapid technological changes.

The framework launched yesterday was developed jointly by the Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS), the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), the Ministry of Manpower, the National Trades Union Congress and the Singapore National Employers Federation.

They call on about 160 member banks under ABS to adhere to a new set of human resources practices that calls for financial institutions to assess the impact of technology on their workforce.

They aim to help firms reskill staff and redeploy them in areas of job growth through professional conversion programmes, according to the guidelines launched yesterday.

Banks are also asked to be inclusive in hiring, meaning they should recruit on the merits of skills required to perform the job rather than set a strict minimum number of years of experience or focus on paper qualifications alone.

The aim is also to build a “strong Singapore core” of talent in the financial sector, with the MAS working to tap the 4,000 or so Singapore professionals working overseas in the hope they will return home.

“Difficult as it may be, business as usual is not an option,” said Senior Minister of State for Law and Finance Indranee Rajah at the launch.

“We are seeing two very contrasting phenomena – in ‘hot’ areas such as IT, there is a shortage of skilled talent, for instance, in data analytics and cyber security.

“On the other hand, we also know that firms could end up with surplus staff as they look to digitise and automate various aspects of their businesses.”

OCBC Bank chief executive officer Samuel Tsien told at a panel session at yesterday’s launch that banks should commit to “not take advantage of our workforce” amid sea change.

“I’ve never liked the word ‘disruption’, because I think ‘disruption’ has got that antagonistic feel about it,” he said.

“It is a transformation imposed upon the bank by the change in our market environment, and we need to look at it that way.”

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