Mitigating current talent crunch issues in the finance sector

Qinthara Fasya, DigitalCFO Asia | 3 October 2022

man in black long sleeve shirt sitting on a chair
Photo by Artem Podrez on Pexels.com

Jobs for tech, data, and science-related positions have been advertised on websites like Indeed 120% more frequently in Singapore than they were before to the outbreak. However, only a small portion of these posts are being filled because of a skill shortage in the nation. A Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Voices survey found that hiring and keeping suitable staff is a challenge for 45% of small businesses.

For CFOs and their financial teams, the pandemic brought about new patterns and difficulties. Finance transformation now looks different than it did yesterday, thanks to disruptive technologies and senior talent offshore. DigitalCFO Asia spoke with See Yang Foo, the Managing Director and Country Head of PERSOLKELLY Singapore on how leaders can mitigate the current talent crunch issues within the finance sector in Singapore.


Talent Crunch Situation in Singapore

Singapore is experiencing a serious talent crunch as businesses adapt to the easing of pandemic measures. After having to rethink their workforce strategies after the pandemic, businesses have increasingly turned to contingent workers to meet their talent needs.

The widening local talent gap and ongoing competition for talent in Singapore have always been key challenges for local employers. In fact, talent shortage in Singapore has recently hit a 15-year high, with 64% of employers struggling to hire.

According to PERSOLKELLY’s APAC Workforce Insights Report, up to 85% of employers in the region face challenges building their workforce. This is exceptionally relevant for Singapore, where employers cited “Lack of Talents Locally” as their biggest challenge in building a workforce. This problem is further exacerbated by the global mobility restrictions caused by border closures amid the pandemic.

However, in Singapore’s financial sector, we foresee bright prospects considering how strongly it had performed during the pandemic. In the fintech sector, more job opportunities have been opening up, with new roles such as sustainable finance entering the scene.

Many of the new permanent roles that will be created in the financial sector in 2022 will likely be roles in financial technology to keep up with the trend of growing fintech in Singapore and integrated digital payment services across the region.

While the financial sector grows, companies will need to be more open to global talents on top of growing the local workforce, suggests See Yang.

Challenges when it comes to the Talent Shortage in the finance industry

bank banking banknotes business

There is a shortage in talent in the finance industry and finance roles, and there is a strong demand for labour in the banking and financial services sector as  institutions put in more efforts to scale up their businesses within the digital financial services space.

In addition, with the rise in FinTech, many are transitioning to such roles. Fintech companies and startups offer alternatives. American Banker reports that bankers are increasingly attracted to them because of their innovative capabilities and focus.

Main issues in Employment Retention and Talent Search

Considering the talent crunch in Singapore and the greater constraints on global mobility due to the pandemic, employers are also looking at hiring remote talents abroad to narrow this talent gap in Singapore. In the last year, employers in Singapore are also more open to hiring remote talents abroad, in comparison to the regional average.

Despite their openness to hiring remote talents abroad, employers in Singapore have expressed that they’re not equipped to do so. The top challenges listed include the increased difficulty in performance management, operational concerns due to time zone differences, language & cultural barriers, and the lack of an office to support operations.

These roadblocks can be difficult to overcome, but employers need not grapple with these on their own, there are external talent solution providers that can support organisations in mitigating these challenges, such as PERSOLKELLY’s Regional Talent Solutions — where talents working remotely can be recruited, hired and managed on the organisation’s behalf.

By tapping on the solution providers’ robust infrastructure to monitor and manage employees’ well-being and performance across the region, employers can easily resolve one of the key limitations of managing a remote team.

Flexible Workforce Solution (FWS)

The pandemic has already accelerated many changes to workforce structures. Remote working and the rise of contract jobs rank among some of the most defining changes. Business leaders will need to evolve and adapt their human resource (HR) strategies to ensure that their staff adjust well to these changes and remain engaged in their work.

Apart from the widening talent crunch, employers in Singapore are also challenged to remain adaptable simultaneously. According to our report, 50% of employers stated that they’ll continue to offer hybrid work arrangements, especially as more employees express their preference for a hybrid work model.

While many employers recognize that a flexible model featuring a mixture of home and office work is more likely to help retain and attract talent, some still find it challenging to adapt to new working models. This is largely because they are not sure how to track and monitor the performance of their employees working from home or operating remotely overseas.

A way to overcome this is by investing in the right tools and training that can help track and monitor the performance of employees. Some examples include timesheet reports where employers can have greater visibility over employees’ hours and productivity. Other methods include having more regular catchup with employees and setting clearer KPIs for career progression

As companies continue to adapt to the flexible work model, they can also tap on highly skilled talent for short-term projects, to stay fluid in their manpower operations and remain agile in meeting ever-changing consumer demands. Support from these temporary talent sourcing solutions helps employers not only access the right talent for their evolving operational needs but also empowers them to monitor and manage their employees’ wellbeing and performance in a remote setting – by connecting them with the right tools and professional services

The Availability of Fresh Graduates – Yay or Nay?

One of the toughest challenges that business leaders face amid the talent crunch would be attracting and retaining talent. One of the most common solutions to this is to hire and nurture fresh graduates.

With more fresh graduates looking to enter the workforce each year, it creates a bigger talent pool for businesses to choose candidates from. This allows for more opportunities for selecting top talent, which in turn helps the talent crunch.

photography of people graduating