Wed, Sep 02, 2020 – 5:50 AM
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has been stepping up engagements with the top leadership of key financial institutions on the need to maintain human resource practices that are merit-based and support workplace diversity, said Ong Ye Kung, an MAS board member, on Tuesday.
Speaking in Parliament on the second day of debate on the President's address, he also acknowledged the concern on the ground that there may be an unconscious bias among business heads towards hiring people of their own nationality, and that they do not give Singaporeans a fair shot.
Mr Ong, who is also Minister for Transport, noted that at 13 per cent of Singapore's economy, the financial-services sector employs about 171,000 workers. Based on the MAS' estimates, about 70 per cent of the workforce are Singaporeans, 14 per cent are permanent residents (PRs), and 16 per cent, work pass holders.
He added: "About 22,000 financial sector jobs were created over the past five years, with 15,000 going to Singaporeans. There are also positive spillovers, contributing to jobs in the legal and accountancy fields, many of which go to Singaporeans."
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Mr Ong said concerns on the ground that the large number of foreigners in senior positions may crowd out Singaporeans is "understandable".
But he noted that the higher share of foreigners in senior roles is mainly due to the large international component of the activities Singapore now undertakes.
Singaporeans account for 44 per cent of senior roles, PRs for 20 per cent and work pass holders, 36 per cent.
"Singapore has grown as a global financial centre as more financial institutions set up regional or global functions in Singapore. They have made us the hub for expertise, networking and oversight of operations in other markets," he said.
"But the staff profile of regional and global activities, like any leading financial centre, tends to be more internationally diverse," he said. "This is especially so for senior roles, as MNCs and financial institutions will fill these ranks with global expertise that they deploy across their offices."
Mr Ong also noted that there are promising signs that more locals are taking up roles with international exposure.
"The MAS and EDB are in touch with about 2,000 such overseas Singaporeans. About 120 are C-suite executives, another 750 hold director/vice-president positions and higher," he said.
On the question of unconscious bias, Mr Ong noted that one area of concern is the high concentration of one nationality in the technology departments of financial institutions.
"We are furiously growing our local talent pipeline in this area, through mid-career skills upgrading and expanding computer science places rapidly in our universities," he said.
The MAS is also working with the industry to groom SiRead More – Source