Why Singapore's Financial Sector is at High Risk of Losing Jobs to Automation

As roles evolve, job holders need to acquire new skills and be adaptable to changes

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We are well aware of the potential consequences of artificial intelligence (AI) and automation. With these two technologies getting bigger, millions of jobs are likely to be displaced in the coming years.


Even the finance sector will witness a big change.

A study commissioned by the Institute of Banking and Finance Singapore (IBF) and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) reveals how data analytics and automation are likely to augment or transform 121 job roles in Singapore's financial sector over the next 3 to 5 years.

Change is Here

The study, carried out by Ernst & Young, identified the skills necessary to perform the new tasks enabled by data analytics and automation. It found that about half of the 121 job roles analysed would be augmented as individuals leverage these technologies to amplify their performance. Another one third of job roles would be transformed, as technology substitutes a significant proportion of job tasks, and remaining tasks across synergistic job roles converge into new roles.

Across all job roles, individuals would be required to take on new or expanded tasks that have a higher element of judgement and creativity, while tasks of a more repetitive and rules-based nature are automated. The study also highlights emerging job roles that would grow in demand with the adoption of data analytics and automation in the sector.

"Business transformation alone is not enough. We also need workforce transformation. This study will help us uplift our workforce, harness the power of data analytics and automation, and make Singapore's financial centre more competitive," says Ng Nam Sin, chief executive officer of IBF.

Why Do Skills Matter?

According to the study, given the range of impact that will be seen across financial services due to data analytics and automation, one of the best ways to prepare the prospective workforce will be to look at the future skill requirements that will help jobholders gain new capabilities or identify ways to enhance existing skill sets.

The wide range of job roles within financial services means that for some, additional skills training will come as natural progressions in their roles, while for others, it may require a substantial shift in skills to be able to work alongside tasks that have been automated or to contribute in meaningful ways when data analytics provides more information than was previously available.

A key finding that emerged in the skills analysis is as roles evolve, job holders will need to acquire new skills and be adaptable to changes as the sector undergoes transformation. This means that to perform these future roles, job holders will need to be more fluid and agile to adjust to what is required in the industry. This, in part, is due to the increased collaboration that will be seen in the future among job roles.