Blockchain, which is a distributed database that is used to maintain a continuously growing list of records called blocks, is now part of specific investment plans for one in three (30%) Singaporean businesses, according to new independent research commissioned by specialized recruiter Robert Half.
With blockchain technology set to do to the financial system what the internet did to the media, Singapore’s financial services sector will need to quickly adapt to rapid change in order to remain globally competitive.
Four in 10 (40%) are planning to invest in blockchain in the future and 16% admit they should be considering investment despite having no plans for it at the moment.
The overall majority of financial services CFOs (76%) believe blockchain implementation will have an impact on the financial services sector over the next five years – with the positive impacts already being realized in Singapore.
Benefits of blockchain
The survey reveals that 83% of CFOs who have implemented blockchain within their business say it has empowered users, while 57% say it has resulted in faster transactions and 40% say it has lowered transaction costs.
“Singapore’s financial services sector operates within a highly competitive global landscape, and it is essential for the sector to adapt to new technological developments quickly,” says Matthieu Imbert-Bouchard, Managing Director of Robert Half Singapore.
“As blockchain technology evolves, its decentralized, open architecture connecting consumers and suppliers will become a more widely used method for financial transactions which, in turn, will open possibilities for many new financial products and services. Because of this, the sector will become much more diverse in its service delivery, helping many financial services companies gain a competitive edge in the market.”
Demand for right skills
As blockchain gradually becomes more mainstream, so too is the demand for people with the right skills to fully leverage the new technology’s benefits.
Singapore’s financial services leaders are seeking professionals skilled in trading technology and analytics (40%), followed by business development (38%), programming and coding (37%) and portfolio management (34%).
“As much as it is important to act promptly with new technology, getting and maintaining momentum will hinge on the financial services sector’s success in engaging a workforce with the right skills to implement new technology and seek new strategic opportunities,” said Imbert-Bouchard.
Closing the skills gap is crucial to prepare for the rise of blockchain technology – and therein lies the challenge for Singapore’s financial services sector.
While 64% of Singaporean CFOs say a skills shortage is the primary reason it is challenging to find skilled financial services professionals today, almost half (49%) say there is a lack of niche, technical experts.
“New developments in technology inevitably cause a shift in required skillsets in any workplace. Organizations who successfully implement blockchain technology need to ensure they have the talent with the right skills to keep up. As the financial services sector grapples with a skills shortage, companies must effectively seek, attract and retain the best talent in order to stay ahead of the game,” concluded Imbert-Bouchard.