The Singapore finance sector is expected to enjoy a mid-year hiring renaissance when the companies that will run the country’s new digital banks receive their licences.
In January, the Monetary Authority of Singapore received 21 applications for up to five digital bank licences. Successful applicants will be announced in June and the new businesses are expected to start operating in mid-2021.
As we reported in January, some of the prospective digital banks (Ant Financial, Razer, Sea, and a Grab-Singtel tie-up have all thrown their hats into the ring) have begun hiring the compliance staff they need to win regulatory approval. More middle-office people will be taken on from June, as will managerial employees to lead teams across all functions. Grab-Singtel has already poached Charles Wong, Citibank’s Singapore retail chief, to run the digital bank it hopes to launch.
What about the technology professionals who will develop the new platforms? Some of them will be sourced internally, say recruiters. If Grab-Singtel wins a licence, for example, current technologists from both companies could move to the new digital entity. But virtual banks will also need to hire externally to staff up their tech teams, according to a new report by search firm Ethos BeathChapman, which identifies four broad functions in which demand for tech talent will be particularly strong.
Front-end development and UX/UI design
Digital banking platforms have to be built from the ground up for customers who won’t be able to pop into a bricks-and-mortar branch. “Customer engagement is of course very different in digital banks,” says the report. “So we see the need for front end developers and UX/UI designers to ensure that the customer journey is constantly evolving and improving.”
Data and analytics
As we’ve previously reported, data and analytics professionals are in high demand and short supply in the Singapore banking sector, and skill shortages are exacerbated by Google, Facebook and other tech firms also hiring people within these fields. “With an already great void and huge need for talent across the data and analytics space, and the abundance of customer data available to digital banks, there will be a spike in requirements for data scientists/analysts and analytics/mining engineers,” says the report. New recruits will “ensure customer data is being used in the most effective way, so customers can be offered the most up to date and relevant products and services”.
The Singapore job market in fields such as robotic process automation and artificial intelligence is already beginning to boom, partly driven by the plethora of innovation labs that are opening up at financial firms across the island. The new digital banks will add to demand for talent in these fields, according to the report, because a multitude of processes, particularly in the middle and back-office, will have to be automated when creating banking applications from scratch. As a result, there will be an increased need for cyber security consultants, application engineers, and cloud architects and engineers.
Blockchain/distributed ledger technology
Digital banks in Singapore are expected to utilise blockchain or distributed ledger technology in some of their products, which will “not only decentralise financial management to a much wider network of computers, but also power the huge increase of data and information banks will have of their customers”. “Candidates must stay up to date and knowledgeable about these areas or risk being left in the dust of the incredibly fast-moving digital banking industry,” says the report.
Photo by Marvin Meyer on Unsplash
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