IT, change management skills highly sought after by banking sector

PETALING JAYA: IT and change management skills are highly sought after in the banking and financial institutions, according to recruitment firm Hays Malaysia.

“There has been an increased demand for IT and digital skills, with payments and digital banking expected to be huge areas for growth in the coming years. There has been increased demand for IT-related or quantitative functions that include leveraging data analytics and visualisation, and programming languages like R, Python, SARS, and SQL in various departments,” Hays said in its Inside Story of Banking & Finance in Malaysia mini-report.

“Change management is also current a highly sought-after skillset, particularly within senior-level roles. Many companies now expect leadership candidates to have some transformation or change management experience, such as the ability to bring change to company culture, structure or ways of working.”

The Inside Story of Malaysia is a monthly regional recruitment analysis undertaken by Hays. Focusing on the banking & finance sector, the analysis found that while Malaysia’s initial measures to control the pandemic led to a decrease in hiring, the conditional movement control order has seen banks and financial institutions restart their recruitment processes.

No significant drop in hiring has been observed since. However, approvals for new headcount have been more rigorous for both local and global institutions who are now making more definitive decisions much quicker to capitalise on new headcount before they lose the opportunity.

Additionally, the current atmosphere of regulatory changes has increased the need for talent-short governance and change management-related roles, while the ongoing boom in digital payments and processes has led demand for more “quantitative” roles that can harness skills like software development and data analytics to support digitalisation and automation.

Hays said banking as a whole will continue to focus on digitalisation and automation. For this reason, candidates with both domain banking knowledge and digital skillsets would be in demand in the coming months. Operational roles will also be streamlined, impacting hiring in this area and bringing in an era of more hybrid roles that will likely become more common as more companies look for ways to cut costs. However, this will depend largely on what technology companies have in place, a space that is still emerging at this time.

Hays Malaysia managing director Tom Osborne said the six months of moratorium policy issued by the central bank severely impacted all banks and insurance companies, particularly local banks that were more focused towards retail and SME customers. However, most financial institutions are steadily getting back to speed in terms of both hiring and business activity.

“While many candidates at this time remain cautious about moving in the current climate, we have observed a gap in mid-level roles that could result in the hiring of more fresh talent. Upskilling in digital or data-related areas as well as change management will give candidates a much-needed edge in this competitive market.”

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