Singapore’s 2017 Budget Is Helping Millennials Take on the Fintech Challenge

By Wui Liang Heng | March 17, 2017

In 2016, Monetary Authority of Singapore’s (MAS) managing director, Ravi Menon, said that Singapore fintech requires a stronger supply of talent, mentorship, and funding so it can catch up with leading fintech ecosystems like those in Silicon Valley, New York, and other locations.

It, therefore, comes as no surprise that the Singapore government has designed the 2017 budget to shape its biggest generation, the millennials, into industry-ready candidates to take up positions in such enterprises.

What does the budget have to offer millennials?

Over the last few years, Singapore has witnessed job-related concerns, especially the dearth of experienced candidates to assume niche job requirements in select industries, including fintech. As Singapore is looking to become the next global leader in the industry, there is now a greater need to address such concerns effectively. Good news has been gift-wrapped in this year’s budget to tackle this issue from the ground up.

Managing millennials’ expectations of accelerated learning

Mr. Gitansh Malik, regional leader for the Aon Best Employers Asia Program at Aon Hewitt, said that one way for employers to manage millennials is to create “a work environment that enables accelerated learning.” It is therefore timely that this year’s budget is setting aside US$105 million (or S$150 million) as donations to match the NTUC-Education and Training Fund.

Through this initiative, courses at universities will be made short and modular. The use of e-learning will also be expanded, which can attract more millennials to take up tertiary education and develop niche skills that the fintech industry is currently seeking from Singaporeans.

Millennials’ need for leadership development opportunities

According to a survey conducted by Deloitte last year, a millennial’s loyalty to their organizations is dependent on leadership development opportunities, among other aspects. The lack of leadership skills development has been highlighted as one of the major reasons the generation quits their jobs. The survey indicated that 44 percent of millennials wanted to leave their jobs in the next 2 years if given a choice, and this is predicted to increase to 66 percent by 2020.

The Singapore budget this year has tackled this issue by setting aside US$70 million (or S$100 million) for the Global Innovation Alliance (GIA) and the Leadership Development Initiative through SkillsFuture. Through this initiative, local companies will receive funding to expand their leadership programs to produce leaders with sound experience. Funding for this initiative will also include sending employees for overseas jobs and enrolling them in specialized courses. The government is aiming to develop 800 potential leaders through this program over the course of 3 years.

Under the GIA, local businesses will also have the opportunity to establish connections with mentors, service providers, and investors across the world. The government will also set up “welcome centers” that will allow foreign companies to co-innovate with Singapore firms to test new products in the country.

Such measures can not only help boost morale but also tackle the prevailing job-switching crisis.

Helping millennials find the right job

Aon Hewitt, a human resource consultancy, estimates that 22 percent (1.2 million) of the Singaporean resident population is comprised of millennials. They also make up the largest generation in the country’s workforce. According to a Randstad Workmonitor survey in 2014, almost half of Singaporean employees (46 percent) are not satisfied with their jobs and do not think they have the perfect job (75 percent only view it as a way to make their living). Singapore was ranked second, behind Japan, where 56 percent of employees were dissatisfied with their jobs.

To address this issue through the budget, the government is adding another US$18 million (S$26 million) to the Lifelong Learning Endowment Fund and Skills Development Fund. They have promised that the National Jobs Bank will be made to work with private placement firms to provide better job matching services. Moreover, the budget has given importance to strengthening on-the-job skills. It has made funding from SkillsFuture available for employers, TACS (Trade Association and Chambers), and unions if they choose to improve their training program structure for workers.

Furthermore, millennials who are dissatisfied with their jobs or in search of the perfect job can benefit from the “Attach and Train” initiative. This initiative is specifically meant for sectors that promise growth. Here, industry partners can send interested and eligible candidates for training and work attachments. Even if their desired companies are not hiring currently, through such training, they will still be in a better position to seek future employment.

Final outlook that millennials can take away from the budget

Singapore’s 2017 budget has demonstrated efficient ways to tackle swirling fintech concerns in the country, particularly the need for a stronger supply of talent, mentorship, and funding. However, this is only a road map to a brighter future for the Singaporean economy. It is now up to the millennials to take advantage of the opportunities that will determine the country’s direction to stay ahead of the game.

Converted from Singapore dollars. Rate: US$1 = S$1.42.

This article first appeared on Tech in Asia.

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Category: Current Affairs
Wui Liang Heng

About Wui Liang Heng

Wui Liang Heng is the Singapore Country Manager for BankBazaar International. He is an experienced business leader who has a passion for leveraging technology to solve business issues. He brings with him a wealth of experience from his 15 years of leading global multi-disciplinary programs in digital financial services under his belt. Before he joined BankBazaar International, Wui Liang was working with Standard Chartered Bank where he was in charge of instituting mobile payments and building the SME Banking proposition, operating in a matrix, time-constrained and highly regulated environment at.

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