160 Singapore banks commit to inclusive hiring, upskilling
All banks under the Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS), amounting to around 160, have agreed to new HR practises from ABS’ HR Advisory.
These are set to include more “inclusive” hiring choices and re-skilling staff to allow them to move into new jobs “in the face of technology disruption”.
The HR Advisory, launched by ABS on Wednesday, says banks need to conduct retrenchment “responsible” and “work with tripartite partners to support affected employees”.
The aim of these new commitments is to build a “strong Singapore core” of financial talent.
By “inclusive hiring”, ABS means hiring based on skills relevant to the job rather than necessary years of experience or specific “on-paper” qualifications.
ABS is “a non-profit organisation that represents the interests of the commercial and investment banking community”. It has been around for over 40 years and some well-known members include the Bank of Singapore, Barclays PLC, the Bank of India and HSBC.
At the launch on Wednesday, Senior Minister of State for Law and Finance, Indranee Rajah said: “Difficult as it may be, business as usual is not an option. As things stand, we are seeing two very contrasting phenomena – in ‘hot’ areas such as IT, there is a shortage of skilled talent, for instance, in data analytics and cybersecurity. On the other hand, we also know that firms could end up with surplus staff as they look to digitise and automate various aspects of their business.”
The HR Advisory was developed by ABS in conjunction with the Monetary Authority of Singapore, the Ministry of Manpower, the National Trades Union Congress, and the Singapore National Employers Federation.
Business Chief Legend: Ho Ching, CEO of Temasek
Ask Singaporeans who Ho Ching is, and the majority will answer the ‘wife of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’. And that’s certainly true. However, she’s also the CEO of Temasek Holdings, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, and one of the world’s largest investment companies.
Well, she is until October 1, 2021, as she recently announced she would be retiring following 16 years as CEO of the investment giant.
Since taking the reins in 2004, two years after joining Temasek as Executive Director, Ho has gradually transformed what was an investment firm wholly owned by Singapore’s Government into an active investor worldwide, splashing out on sectors like life sciences and tech, expanding its physical footprint with 11 offices worldwide (from London to Mumbai to San Francisco) and delivering growth of US$120 billion between 2010-2020.
Described by Temasek chairman Lim Boon Heng as having taken “bold steps to open new pathways in finding the character of the organisations”, Ho is credited with building Temasek’s international portfolio, with China recently surpassing Singapore for the first time.
As global a footprint as Ho may have however, she has her feet firmly planted on Singapore soil and is committed to this tiny city-state where she was not only educated (excluding a year at Stanford) but has remained throughout her long and illustrious career – first as an engineer at the Ministry of Defence in 1976, where she met her husband, and most notably as CEO of Singapore Technologies, where she spent a decade, and where she is credited with repositioning and growing the group into the largest listed defence engineering company in Asia.
It’s little wonder Ho has featured on Forbes’ annual World’s Most Powerful Women list for the past 16 years, in 2007 as the third most powerful woman in business outside the US, and in 2020 at #30 worldwide.
But it’s not all business. Ho has a strong track record in Singapore public service, serving as chairman of the Singapore Institute of Standards and Industrial Research and as deputy chairman of the Economic Development Board; and is a committed philanthropist with a focus on learning difficulties and healthcare.
As the pandemic kicked off, she not only led active investments in technology and life sciences, with German COVID-19 vaccine developer BioNTech among the most recent additions to Temasek’s portfolio, but through the Temasek Foundation – the firm’s philanthropic arm which supports vulnerable groups close to Ho’s heart, handed out hand sanitiser and face masks.
So, you would be forgiven for thinking that at age 68, Ho might simply relax. But in March 2021, just as she announced her retirement from Temasek, Ho joined the Board of Directors of Wellcome Leap, a US-based non-profit organisation that’s dedicated to accelerating innovations in global health. Not ready to put her firmly grounded feet up yet it seems.