新加坡金融科技发展受限,问题关键在移民? - 互联网金融门户 未央网

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新加坡金融科技发展受限,问题关键在移民?

其他国际资讯

新加坡金融科技发展受限,问题关键在移民?

一直以来,新加坡都在积极努力成为高科技金融中心,不想现在却遭遇了人才短缺问题。

许多国家的科技创业公司都在尽全力争取软件工程师这样的技术人才。而新加坡作为一个城邦国家,人口只有560万,人才缺乏尤其严重。新加坡金融科技协会(SFA)表示,本国大学和理工类院校科技相关专业每年有约400个毕业生,远达不到政府每年增加1000个金融科技行业岗位的目标。

作为一个开放的小型经济体,新加坡依靠引进外来人才满足本国技术需求。不过,近些年愈发严格的移民政策让劳动力市场感受到了压力。2017年新加坡发放的就业准证数量5年来首次出现下降--持有此证的外国雇员薪金门槛为每月3600新币(约为2679美元)。

人才危机

去年,新加坡就业准证持有者数量经过4年连续增长后出现首次下降。

官方数据显示,2016年新加坡金融科技服务需要26200个岗位,创历史新高。SFA的调查结果也证实了新加坡技术人才短缺这一观点,47%的成员认为该国人才不足。其中短缺最为严重的岗位是数据科学家、区块链开发人员和计算机程序员。

新加坡政府表示,他们正在寻找解决方案,希望既能保护本地人的就业机会,又能给人才短缺最严重的行业一定的雇佣弹性。

SFA主席Chia Hock Lai说:"为缓解行业人才紧缺,政府提出了能力转移计划等措施,该计划可为引进外国专家的公司提供补贴。除此以外,我们还有很多方面可以做出改变。"

最大的挑战

Lai说:"我希望政府能为那些受行业协会审查的技术人才提供1年期的就业准证,这类试验性措施有助于解决目前的人才短缺问题。新加坡可借此抓住全球新兴的金融科技及区块链行业机遇,同时本地人的就业也得到了保障,最后一点显得尤其重要。"

新加坡金融管理局(MAS)局长Ravi Menon领衔全国金融科技工作,他表示,人才不足是全球性问题,也是本国新兴产业面临的最大挑战。中央银行现在尝试通过一些项目提升行业能力,但这还不远远不够。

Menon在5月的一次金融科技峰会上表示:"必须承认,我们的人才和技术还有所欠缺,因此对于外国人才我们必须保持开放包容的态度。"

外国人才的引进

2011年大选后,新加坡收紧了移民政策,因为当时人们认为,之前十年里涌入的外来员工破坏了本国服务业的有序发展,激化了房地产业市场竞争,并进而威胁到本土员工的就业。

人口迅速老龄化,生产力发展缓慢。经济学家表示,仅靠政府发展自动化和机器人技术是不足以解决这些问题的。

美国美林银行(Bank of America Merrill Lynch)经济学家Mohamed Faiz Nagutha在一份报告中表示:"要想实现新加坡未来十年实际GDP 2%-3%的增长目标,保持经济活力,政府必须实行更开放的移民政策。"

Kuldeep Singh对人才问题了解颇深。Singh是新加坡一家医疗科技创企Biofourmis的CEO,该企业专门开发一类协助医护人员远程监测病患的可穿戴设备。他希望,在2018年年底前公司员工数量能从22人增加到40-45人,以达到投资者的发展期望。

"吹毛求疵"

虽然Singh很感谢政府和学校对医疗科技领域发展的帮助,但是他很反对"必须招聘本土员工"这一要求。

他说:"在新加坡本土招员工一直比较艰难。如果对员工能力的要求'吹毛求疵'一些,招聘就难上加难。虽然最近雇佣的员工大多是外国人,但是Biofourmis一直将外国和本土人员的数量比维持在一个合适的度上。"

网络安全、人工智能和数据分析等高科技行业人才不足,企业抱怨纷纷。财政部长Heng Swee Keat上个月做出回应,他表示,虽然未来可能会变化,但目前外国员工的雇用限制仍然不会消失。

新加坡总理Lee Hsien Loong于5月16日向国会表示:"移民是新加坡历史和身份的一部分,我们需要稳定的移民来填补人口。"

Singapore’s goal of becoming a high-tech financial hub is running into real-world problems of labor supply and demand.

Technology startups in many countries are fighting to attract skilled workers like software engineers. Yet in the tiny city-state of Singapore, with a population of 5.6 million, the dearth of talent is particularly acute. The nation’s universities and polytechnic schools churn out what the government estimates are 400 graduates a year with the right qualifications, well short of plans to add 1,000 financial tech jobs annually, according to the Singapore Fintech Association.

As a small, open economy Singapore relies on foreign talent to help meet its skills needs. Yet a gradual tightening of immigration rules in recent years is putting pressure on a labor market that’s already feeling the crunch. The number of employment passes -- which are granted to foreign professionals in jobs that pay at least S$3,600 ($2,679) a month -- declined last year for the first time in at least five years.

Foreign Talent Crunch

Singapore's employment pass holders declined last year after four straight increases

Official data puts demand for technology jobs in financial services at more than 26,200 in 2016, a record high. Surveys by the Singapore Fintech Association back up the view of a skills crunch, with 47 percent of members citing insufficient talent in the country. Data scientists, blockchain developers and computer programmers are most in demand.

The government says it’s trying to strike a balance between an approach that protects local jobs and labor rules that give flexibility to employers in industries where skills shortages are most severe.

It has specific initiatives to ease the talent crunch in those sectors, such as the capability transfer program, where companies can seek funding of salaries for foreign specialists. Still, more could be done, said Chia Hock Lai, president of the Singapore Fintech Association.

Biggest Challenge

“It would be great if the government can consider experimental schemes,” including a one-year employment pass for technology workers who are vetted by industry associations, “in order to address the immediate talent shortage gap,” he said.

“This would be a balanced approach to protect jobs for locals, which should always be a priority, while still allowing Singapore to capture emerging global opportunities in the area of fintech and blockchain,” he said.

Ravi Menon, managing director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore, who is spearheading the nation’s fintech efforts, said the talent crunch is a global problem and the biggest challenge for the city state’s burgeoning industry. The central bank is building capacity in the industry through upskilling programs, but that’s not enough.

“We have to admit and acknowledge that there are some talents or skill sets we just don’t have and we have to remain open to foreign talent,” Menon said at a fintech event in May.

Foreign Workers

Singapore tightened immigration policy following the 2011 elections, when residents voiced worries that an influx of foreign workers in the past decade had strained services, driven up competition in the property market and threatened the jobs of native-born workers.

A rapidly aging population has coincided with a slowdown in productivity, and though the government is taking steps through automation and robotics to address that, economists say those moves aren’t going to be enough.

“A more open immigration policy is absolutely necessary to make good the government’s 2-3 percent real GDP growth target over the next decade and to sustain Singapore’s economic dynamism,” Mohamed Faiz Nagutha, an economist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, said in a research note.

Kuldeep Singh knows the challenge well. As chief executive officer of Singapore-based Biofourmis, a health tech startup that helps doctors and nurses monitor patients remotely via wearable devices, Singh is trying to boost his Singapore staff to 40-45 workers from 22 by the end of 2018 in a race to catch up with investor appetite.

‘Very Picky’

While Singh said he appreciates the government’s support of his work and universities’ efforts to train in his field, he’s running up against a system that emphasizes the need to hire locally.

“Hiring in Singapore has always been a challenge -- specifically when we start becoming very picky on what the skill set needs to be,” he said. Biofourmis so far has “maintained a good blend” of foreign and domestic workers, though finding the right people recently has meant looking beyond these borders, Singh said.

Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat said last month that restrictions on foreign worker hiring will remain in place for now, though there’s room for changes in the longer term. Heng was responding to company complaints about a shortage of workers, particularly in high-skilled sectors including cyber security, artificial intelligence and data analytics.

“Immigrants are part and parcel of our history and our identity,” Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on May 16 to Parliament. “And if you look ahead, we need a steady flow of immigrants, not too many, not too few, just right to top up our population.”


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