S'pore financial execs most keen in world to upgrade
Grace Ng
Tue, Dec 11, 2007
The Straits Times
SINGAPORE finance-related companies see hiring quality staff as their biggest challenge in meeting goals, according to a new survey.

But the same survey contains some cheering news: Singapore finance professionals are more eager than any of their global counterparts to upgrade their skills.

Recruitment agency Robert Half International polled more than 5,000 finance professionals across 17 economies and found that 54 per cent of Singapore respondents cited the hiring of quality staff as 'the biggest challenge in meeting departmental goals'.

This reflected the rising demand by financial institutions for more than mere number- crunchers, said Mr Tim Hird, managing director of Robert Half Singapore.

'Businesses are now looking for finance professionals who can communicate and present effectively,' he said.

He also sounded a warning that finance executives 'who are not prepared for these new expectations may find themselves becoming liabilities to the company'.

Still, many Singapore professionals appear to be already in tune with this thinking.

The survey showed that 51 per cent of the Singapore respondents would like to develop strategic thinking and leadership abilities in the next year. This is the highest among the countries polled.

In comparison, 38 per cent of United States and Japanese professionals were keen to develop their skills, followed by 22 per cent in London and 19 per cent in Hong Kong.

About two-thirds of Singapore respondents also indicated that they felt the need to improve on strategic thinking and people management skills to become more effective managers.

Mr Hird noted: 'Singapore-based finance professionals rank the highest in terms of wanting to upgrade skill sets because of Singapore's increasing role as a regional financial centre.'

Recognising the shortage of talent in Singapore's booming finance industry and the need for programmes to help finance professionals upgrade, the Institute of Banking and Finance has been offering the Financial Industry Competency Standards (FICS) scheme.

One of the participants in this scheme is Ms Josephine Lim, assistant vice-president of enterprise banking for DBS Bank. She attended an in-house DBS training programme - which was accredited under the FICS framework.

The training 'helped me to understand where my career would take me, and the skills I would need in order to get there', she said.


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