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Financial sector blueprint aims to create up to 4,000 new jobs a year until 2025; MAS pledges S$400m to develop local talent

SINGAPORE — An average of 3,000 to 4,000 new jobs are expected to be created in the financial services industry each year until 2025 under the sector's second industry transformation map (ITM), launched on Thursday (Sept 15).

Financial sector blueprint aims to create up to 4,000 new jobs a year until 2025; MAS pledges S$400m to develop local talent
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  • MAS said its second industry transformation map, launched on Thursday (Sept 15), would create 3,000 to 4,000 new jobs each year until 2025
  • The industry's first such blueprint was launched in 2017 and met or exceeded its goals to boost the sector
  • MAS pledged S$400 million in funding to help achieve its latest set of goals
  • Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong said the previous roadmap has successfully churned out over 20,000 "good jobs", with most taken up by Singaporeans

SINGAPORE — An average of 3,000 to 4,000 new jobs are expected to be created in the financial services industry each year until 2025 under the sector's second industry transformation map (ITM), launched on Thursday (Sept 15).

In a bid to further build up local competencies and develop talents in the industry, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) also committed S$400 million in funding from 2021 to 2025.

The ITM 2025, which was launched by Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong, also projected an average 4 to 5 per cent growth annually for the financial services industry in the same period.

“The ITM 2025 lays out the growth strategies to further develop Singapore as a leading international financial centre in Asia — to connect global markets, support Asia’s development, and serve Singapore’s economy,” said the central bank in a press release.


The numerical goals unveiled on Thursday were slightly higher than those set out in the previous ITM, but closely tracked the actual numbers achieved between 2016 and 2020.

In terms of jobs, the financial services sector created an average of 4,100 net jobs each year, higher than the targetted 3,000 jobs.

“So from 2016 to 2020, over 20,000 net jobs were created in financial services. And these were good jobs, with most of them being taken by Singaporeans,” said Mr Wong, who is also Finance Minister and MAS deputy chairman, in his speech at the MAS building on Thursday.

In response to TODAY's queries, an MAS spokesperson said that the number of net jobs created in 2021 is within the 3,000 to 4,000 targeted under the new ITM, and that overall it expects "a good proportion" of the jobs to be filled by locals. 

"For reference, as at end-2021, about 71 per cent of the financial sector workforce were Singapore citizens and 14 per cent were permanent residents, and these proportions have remained stable over the years," the spokesperson added.

Meanwhile, the industry grew by an average of 5.7 per cent a year between 2016 and 2020, exceeding the initial target of 4.3 per cent set when the first ITM was unveiled in 2017.

However, Mr Wong noted that the external environment has become more complex and challenging, with "elevated macroeconomic and geopolitical risks".

“Amid all this, Asia remains a region with high growth potential in the global economy and we should contribute to its growth,” he said.

“So we are updating our ITM — we are looking at ways to seize new opportunities while staying resilient against emerging risks, and update our plans, strategies and targets for the next five years.”


MAS's blueprint laid out five strategies to further develop the finance industry until 2025:

  • Foster a skilled and adaptable work force
  • Catalyse Asia’s transition to net-zero carbon emissions
  • Shape the future of financial networks
  • Digitalise financial infrastructure
  • Enhance asset class strengths

Under the broad strategy of fostering a skilled and adaptable workforce, S$400 million from the Financial Sector Development Fund (FSDF) in the form of grants will be set aside under the Talent and Leaders in Finance programme for the period 2021 until 2025. 

"This will help nurture more Singaporean specialists and leaders in finance, and ensure that Singaporeans are able to take up good jobs that the financial sector will continue to generate in the years to come," said Mr Wong in his speech on Thursday.

The FSDF was set up in 1999 and administered by MAS to promote Singapore as a financial centre and develop expertise required by the sector, among other objectives.

The funding hopes to build workforce competencies in growth areas through training support, developing specialist talents in areas such as sustainability and technology, and grooming leaders by providing opportunities to gain international exposure and networks, said MAS.

Between 2016 and 2020, more than 86,000 professionals were trained while more than S$200 million in FSDF grants were used to support skills and talent development initiatives in the financial sector, the central bank's spokesperson told TODAY.

It added that while S$400 million has been committed for 2021 to 2025, there are no "hard targets" for the number of professionals to be trained.

Mr Wong added that talent is “the most important pre-requisite” to achieve the goals across the five strategies.

In this regard, Singapore’s strategy is two-pronged, the first being attracting top talent from abroad to “form the best teams in Singapore”.

Mr Wong added that the manpower ministry’s recent changes to the work pass framework, including the introduction of the Overseas Networks and Expertise Pass, “will enable us to be more attractive and do better at attracting and retaining top talent here in Singapore”.

The other prong of the talent strategy, said Mr Wong, is to invest heavily in human capital locally.

“That has and will continue to be a cornerstone of our development strategy.”


MAS will also work with the industry to push Asia’s transition towards net-zero emissions, by helping to scale up sustainable and transition financing.

This broad strategy includes providing S$100 million in grant funding from 2021 to 2025, for purposes such as capability building and supporting green financial technology.

In addition, MAS will also facilitate decarbonisation of real economy sectors in the region via appropriate financing solutions for corporations.

And while the central bank has on numerous occasions warned about the dangers of cryptocurrency speculation and trading, it has also reiterated that it supports the innovation of related technologies as they may bring about potential benefits.

Under the pillar of shaping the future of financial network, MAS said it will continue to enhance payments connectivity and build an innovative and responsible digital asset ecosystem.

This will be done by looking into the potential of distributed ledger technology in promising use cases such as cross-border payments, and supporting the exploration of tokenisation of financial and real economy assets.

There is also "tremendous potential" to develop Singapore into a philanthropy centre in Asia, given a growing interest among high-net-worth individuals to do more in this space, Mr Wong added.

The financial industry here will work with such individuals to set up philanthropic foundations here and enable them to better track the impact of their giving, at the same time uplifting societies and contributing to Asia’s development.

“This will add to our role as a dynamic and purposeful financial centre — one which provides a more holistic service for funds being managed in Singapore.”

This effort is part of MAS' strategy to beef up its strength across all asset classes, and Mr Wong said that the central bank will release more details on its strategy for each asset class, particularly for foreign exchange, insurance, funds, philanthropy, private markets, and financial technology.

Mr Wong said that the refreshed ITM is ambitious, and “delivering it will not be easy” as the road ahead is expected to be bumpy yet full of opportunities.

However, with close partnership between employers, unions and workers in the industry, Singapore can remain a “bastion of stability, opportunity and innovation” in a complex and volatile world.

“If we do this right, our financial centre will continue to stay relevant and competitive, and we will continue to be a key global financial node that connects global markets, supports Asia’s development, and serves Singapore’s economy well.”

Related topics

MAS financial services Lawrence Wong digitalisation Jobs

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