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Morning Coffee: Singapore bank funds “personal grooming courses” to make staff look smarter

UOB offers personal grooming cources

Groomed for UOB

Dressing well is an essential part of being a front-office banker who could be called upon to meet clients at short notice, even during the early hours of the morning. UOB, though, is encouraging more of its rank-and-file staff in Singapore to look good on the job.

The bank is using the S$3.8m dollars it received under the Singapore government’s Wage Credit Scheme to fund career development and wellness programmes for all its 3,600 employees at a junior managerial level or below. They will receive credits to spend on training programmes of their choice – including service excellence, computer software and….personal grooming courses.

Grooming looks like being a popular option. “I’m planning to take part in a grooming programme so that I can better groom myself to look more professional in front of my customers,” Larissa Woon, a service manager at UOB, told Channel News Asia.

The training scheme has serious aims – banks in Singapore are trying to combat a culture of job hopping by boosting staff development programmes in a bid to retain staff. Three in 10 Singaporean employees are thinking of resigning their jobs this year, according to a survey released by recruitment company Randstad this week.

“We always take a long-term view in nurturing our employees and have regular programmes to help develop our staff. But with the funding, we felt that it’s important that the employee sees long term development as their goal towards career aspirations,” says Jenny Wong, managing director and head of group human resources at UOB.

Rival Singaporean bank OCBC took a different approach to the money it received under the Wage Credit Scheme – it gave staff a payout last year.

Meanwhile:

Former senior J.P. Morgan banker Shao Zili is set to join Hong Kong-based law firm King & Wood. (Finance Asia)

Chinese dual-listed firms fuel Hong Kong stock-buying frenzy. (South China Morning Post)

Maybank expands more deeply into China. (Business Times)

Japanese trading house Itochu hopes to attract graduates by reducing their hours. (Financial Times)

Why many well-educated Singaporeans are facing a crushing debt burden. (Straits Times)

Stanford expels star Singaporean student for allegedly “poisoning” classmates. (Asia One)

Wealthy Chinese lose their appetite for large luxury cars. (Wall Street Journal)


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