Even as the Singapore government takes concerted effort to prepare professionals for a different finance landscape transformed by technology, global recruitment specialist Hays is urging finance professionals to upskill as they face an increasingly complex business environment. Already, the Accountancy & Finance (A&F) sector in Singapore is facing a skills gap, despite the large supply of professionals available, according to Hays.
“As candidates face immense competition in the job market, they have been motivated to upskill through taking their ACCA/CA/CFA certifications or, to a smaller extent, pursuing their Master of Accountancy & Finance,” explained Grant Torrens, Regional Director, Hays Singapore. “Many of them are also broadening their horizons by attending relevant networking sessions to connect with peers and prospective employers.”
While accounting is still a fundamental requirement in most companies, Financial Planning & Analysis professionals have also been “increasingly taking on an important role at management meetings as they are expected to directly impact business performance by guiding the management team in making key decisions based on financial analyses,” he said, pointing out the strategic contributions of finance professionals.
Employers have not been resting on their laurels when it comes to securing the top talents available to drive business growth. Organisations have been ramping up efforts by investing in their employer value propositions to attract the best talent in the market, such as through professional social media networking and online content marketing. “Such tactics are likely to grow each year as they prove to be effective in communicating the non-monetary benefits of working for a company,” he said.
Other trends surrounding the A&F sector in Singapore include:
- Candidates with a hybrid of experiences, such as in both financial accounting and analysis, are highly coveted as companies move towards lean yet high-performing finance teams.
- For mid-senior levels, talents who can act as commercial financial managers, taking finance teams to the next level in terms of business, are being sought after. To this end, firms are widening their nets in the search and looking at individuals from broad backgrounds and skill sets.
- There has been a growing conception of unique finance roles that require experience in data analytics-related skills such as Python and SQL. The knowledge of these technologies allows for the analysis of massive data sets and the automation of processes necessary for analysis.
- As hiring managers and human resource departments face pressures to employ local staff, the appetite of Singapore businesses for foreign hires has been gradually diminishing, compared to previous years.
- MNCs or regional SMEs who do employ foreign staff are more likely to arrange for internal transfers from their global offices than to hire externally, unless the role calls for extremely niche skill sets.