Robert Half has found two out of five (40 per cent) Singaporean chief financial officers (CFOs) believe the current skills shortage is the top factor which will impact the financial services sector this year. The research highlights the need for companies to proactively address their hiring needs.
In addition to the skills shortage, 2017 will also be shaped by big data and compliance pressures. More than one in three (34 per cent) CFOs respectively point to both big data analytics and technology-driven activities as having the greatest impact shaping the financial services sector in 2017 and more than one in four (28 per cent) identify compliance pressures.
Other top factors for 2017 cited in the survey include innovation (26 per cent), managing customer expectations (25 per cent) and generational shifts (25 per cent).
“Singapore’s financial services sector has been impacted by the skills shortage for some time, and business leaders clearly expect the “war for talent” to continue in 2017,” says Matthieu Imbert-Bouchard, managing director at Robert Half Singapore. “While the impact of new technology is viewed as an additional challenge for the sector this year, it is closely tied to the skills shortage. Without suitably skilled professionals, companies cannot leverage the full value of emerging technologies such as big data.”
“As Singaporean financial services companies endeavour to become more innovative by adopting new technologies, the challenges from the skills gap will inevitably be felt,” Matthieu Imbert-Bouchard added. “Businesses need professionals with adequate tech-based skillsets to be able to fully address key factors like Big Data analytics and innovative business practices,”
Singapore’s competitive labour market means it is critical for employers to take proactive steps to attract and retain quality finance professionals. According to Robert Half, companies can also take several additional steps to mitigate the impact of the skills shortage including investing in employee training. This not only upskills current finance teams, it can also underpin high retention levels. “Hiring contract and interim managers during peak periods or for special projects is a highly cost effective strategy that injects fresh ideas into a company, and prevents burdening employees with unrealistic workloads, which can negatively impact staff morale,” concluded Matthieu Imbert-Bouchard.