Recruitment, Technology, Attraction

Where’s the talent coming from to sustain Singapore’s Fintech boom?

Recruitment, Technology, Attraction / Where’s the talent coming from to sustain Singapore’s Fintech boom?

Crystine Cham

Crystine Cham
December 12, 2018

The Fintech industry is one of the fastest growing areas in the global economy. The Asia-Pacific market alone is predicted to reach US$72 billion by 2020, according to Frost and Sullivan’s Fintech Outlook.

Singapore sits at the heart of the region’s Fintech boom.

KPMG’s recently published Fintech 100 list featured six Singaporean companies: InstReM, Kyber Network, TenX, Funding Societies, and Singapore Life.

This is a strong indication that the local industry is in rude health.

But where's the talent going to come from to fuel this growth?

A joint report from The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) and the Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants (ISCA) stated that there are five elements needed for a region to foster Fintech success.

The five elements are: markets, talent, capital, progressive regulation and strong government support.

That second item is especially relevant.

It’s likely that Singapore will continue to place restrictions on low-skilled foreign workers.

Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat’s policy is designed to limit the flow of non-Singaporean labour and ensure companies invest in automation and other productivity-boosting measures, and the island nation doesn’t plan on changing course.

However, for high-skilled workers, Singapore is forging ahead with a campaign to attract the best talent in order to meet its digital economy goals.

Partnerships with universities

The Singapore government, backed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), have teamed up to tackle Fintech skill shortages.

One focus has been on developing partnerships with local universities to beef up the talent pool.

As a People and Talent Advisor close to the industry, I’m often invited to attend conferences to discuss issues around skilled talent shortages.

More often than not, two questions are brought to the table: is Singapore’s present education system equipping the talent of tomorrow with the skills required to work in Fintech? And are Singapore’s universities producing enough graduates to fill the talent gap?

Bridging the talent gap

The answer to the second question is a simple ‘no’.

According to Singapore Fintech Association, an estimated 1,100 Fintech jobs will be added annually. But the government estimates that there are only 400 graduates a year with the right qualifications to fill them.

There’s no doubt that we need to continue to develop young talent. However, it seems that relying on collaboration with universities alone won’t be enough to fulfil the industry’s immediate needs.

So what else can be done?

Targeting passive job seekers is one angle. With 73% of candidates falling into this bracket, there’s a large pool of talent waiting to be tapped into, with referrals a potentially lucrative avenue to explore.

A CareerBuilder report found that 82% of employers rated employee referrals as the best sources for generating the best return on investment.

And finally, Employer brand is another important aspect in standing out from the crowd to attract the best talent.

This is an area I’ll be exploring in my next blog.

In the meantime, I’d love to hear your thoughts on the growth of Fintech in Singapore and how your business is meeting the talent shortage.

Email me at to continue the conversation.

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