Singapore Issues Measures to Enhance Job Retention in Financial Sector

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  • The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the Institute of Banking Finance (IBF) have issued measures to enhance job retention in the country’s financial sector.
  • These measures include launching a new work-study program for graduates, as well as extending the subsidies for courses and training programs until June 2021.
  • Despite Singapore’s economy shrinking in 2020, the financial sector grew by over five percent and saw an employment uptake of over 1,000 people.

In late November 2020, The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the Institute of Banking Finance (IBF) issued measures to support the skills development of workers in the financial sector.

The financial services sector accounted for 13 percent of Singapore’s GDP and employed more than 170,000 people in 2019. Despite Singapore’s economy shrinking by 13.2 percent due to the pandemic, its financial sector grew by 5.9 percent in the first half of 2020 and employing over 1,500 people.

MAS aims to make Singapore a leading financial center in Asia by developing several focus areas:

  • Wealth management;
  • Enterprise financing;
  • Asset management;
  • Wealth management;
  • Infrastructure finance;
  • Foreign exchange and derivatives;
  • Fixed income;
  • Insurance and fixed financing; and
  • Sustainable finance.

As part of this goal, the organization and its partners are initiating measures to support financial institutions in building a talent pipeline by equipping professionals with new skills and competencies.

Launch of new work-study support program

MAS and the IBF are developing a new work-study support program (WSSP) to assist job-ready graduates looking to enter the financial sector.

The program will fund 80 percent of internship stipends, maxed at S$1,000 (US$747) for graduates serving their internships at financial institutions as part of the SkillsFuture Work-Study Degree Program (WSDeg).

SkillsFuture is a government initiative to provide Singaporeans education and training, regardless of their starting point (school years, early-career, mid-career, or retirement age). The different programs available are aimed at skills upgrading and deepening, which are essential for the country’s labor force to maintain its competitive edge.

SkillsFuture covers four important aspects:

  1. Helping individuals make well-informed choices in education, training, and careers;
  2. Developing an integrated, high-quality system of education and training that responds to constantly evolving industry needs;
  3. Promoting employer recognition and career development based on skills and mastery; and
  4. Fostering a culture that supports and celebrates lifelong learning.

Extension of training allowance grant

The government will extend the Training Allowance Grant (TAG) by six months to June 30, 2021.

The TAG supports financial institutions and fintech firms manage manpower costs of training and skills upgrades of their employees.

For company-sponsored participants, the grant amount is capped at S$15 (US$11) per hour of eligible training for courses between April 8, 2020, to June 30, 2021. The courses must be completed no later than September 30, 2021.

Self-sponsored participants are also eligible for the TAG at a rate of S$10 (US$7.47) per hour for courses beginning between April 8, 2020, to December 31, 2020. The courses must be completed no later than March 31, 2021.

Further, MAS will enhance the course fee subsidies for Singaporeans attending accredited courses by up to 90 percent, until June 30, 2021. The IBF will provide an additional five percent support through an IBF credit, meaning the course fee subsidies are now at 95 percent.


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ASEAN Briefing is produced by Dezan Shira & Associates. The firm assists foreign investors throughout Asia and maintains offices throughout ASEAN, including in SingaporeHanoiHo Chi Minh City and Jakarta. Please contact us at asia@dezshira.com or visit our website at www.dezshira.com

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