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Financial institutions in Singapore are entering a new arms race of technology investment that will provide a host of opportunities for those with the right skill sets, according to recruitment experts.

Of the more than 9,400 new permanent roles on offer in the financial sector this year, 3,000 will be in technology, according to new estimates from the Monetary Authority of Singapore. Over the next two years, expect strong growth within some of the popular tech job functions of today, but also watch for some new areas that have so far failed to grab the spotlight, say tech recruiters.

Broadly speaking, recruiters expect strong jobs growth among banks and fintech companies in areas involving artificial intelligence (AI), cloud services development, automation, software engineering and blockchain.

“The tech industry is still and always will be booming and the demand for talent is still on the rise,” says Sachet Sethi, manager of tech and transformation at Robert Walters Singapore.

Sethi is especially upbeat on roles related “towards the AI space along with a focus on hiring professionals with DevOps and Cloud skill sets”. He adds that network security roles will continue to see strong growth over the next two years. Still, he says innovation will reshape security roles such that they no longer resembled “hands-on work with networks or keeping systems secure”.

Alongside the recent upsurge in the Singaporean economy following the Covid-19 pandemic lock downs, Sethi has seen an upsurge in demand for data services to implement automation in customer services. “The way to deal with customer service is changing and is getting more tech friendly,” he adds.

Among new growth areas, another recruiter says candidates should focus on consumer engagement and how the rise of mobility and rapid download speeds in the 5G era will reshape how people use financial services. “Financial institutions are heavily transforming themselves in the last couple of years,” says Clarence Quek, senior client solutions director of technology and professional services at Randstad, adding that he sees “very heavy demand for product leaders who can articulate what clients want and translate that into a service line within the business”.

Quek says he is upbeat on demand for technology roles which provide solutions that adapt new technology to benefit consumer lifestyles. “How do we continue to leverage these [rapid wireless network] speeds to ensure that the way of life becomes more convenient, faster and easily accessible?” he adds.

He is also upbeat on growth in cryptocurrency services, adding that “we are still at the infancy stage for blockchain.”

Among the difficulties in gauging the future is understanding how regulatory oversight would affect the development of new technologies within financial services. Quek praises Singapore’s open-minded approach of allowing new financial services to be explored under a sandbox, or a pilot trial. “We definitely need to have an ecosystem whereby fintechs and financial institutions co-exist as we currently see in Singapore,” he adds.

In coping with the talent shortage, Quek says most companies in Singapore are adopting a hybrid approach. This means hiring a mix of junior, mid and senior personnel to encourage the development of corporate culture that can cross share ideas and still have the maturity needed for product and services development.

“A lot of people wonder what future tech looks like and how can we ensure that tech becomes cleaner and cheaper,” says Quek. “We have to be very open to new ideas, learning and embracing new technology."

Sethi says candidates should be prepared to evolve with changing conditions over the next two years and beyond. “Overall, the demand for traditional roles could evolve with more emphasis on automation and digitisation, along with changing the way we hire – hiring more on potential than experience,” says Sethi.

Photo by Alex wong on Unsplash

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