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UOB expands gig work programme to include women with caregiving duties

UOB expands gig work programme to include women with caregiving duties

This was one of the key announcements made at its annual Better U Festival, which also saw the launch of its Group Technology and Operations Academy, as well as the rollout of a new set of meeting etiquettes.

Women with parental and caregiving duties looking to enter the workforce on a flexible basis will now be able to do so, thanks to UOB expanding the scope of its gig employment programme, called 'Gig+U'.

This move sees 200 job vacancies opening up for women in Singapore looking for flexi-work owing to familial responsibilities, such as mums of newborn children, women who have to shoulder elderly caregiving responsibilities at home, ladies who want to gradually return to full-time work after an extended career break, and more.

This was one of the landmark announcements made at the Bank's Better U Festival held on 26 October 2022, held at UOB Plaza in Singapore's CBD, and attended by Human Resources Online

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Dean Tong, Head, Group Human Resources, UOB (pictured above), said on the initiative: "Women should be encouraged, not penalised, for supporting the needs of their families while pursuing their careers. With the expansion of our landmark Gig+U programme to include women with caregiving needs, they will no longer need to choose between career and family. UOB is proud to partner our female colleagues in their journey to achieve balance between their careers and personal lives, and excelling on both fronts."

The programme, which sees a collaboration with career portal Mums@Work, will offer full- and part-time jobs as well as gig work in UOB’s various business units. Positions offered include frontline bank branch operation and service roles, as well as those in corporate functions and back-end operations such as the ones in key growth areas like cloud engineering, anti-money laundering and Know Your Client (KYC).

Wee Ee Cheong, Deputy Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, UOB, added: "We take a holistic approach to caring for our people, addressing pertinent issues such as work-life balance, inclusiveness and career development. We are introducing a more balanced way of working as well as extending our landmark Gig+U model to women with caregiving responsibilities."

Employees hired under Gig+U Women will receive equal pay and enjoy the same benefits such as leave entitlements and medical insurance coverage as their peers with similar roles in the Bank, subject to their employment status. In addition, before new hires are onboarded, they will embark on a programme with Mums@Work that prepares them for their return to work.

To cater for the caregiving responsibilities of these women, positions under Gig+U Women have a flexi-hours component built in, where working hours can be adjusted based on needs. This means that women can take up permanent half-day working arrangements, work full- or part-time based on hours of their choosing, or even do project-based gig work.

Women interested in applying for positions under Gig+U Women can view the full list of job openings here.

The programme was launched in the presence of Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for Economic Policies Heng Swee Keat (pictured above). Also announced was the launch of a new in-house learning academy, called Group Technology and Operations Academy (GTO)which is expected to help nurture tech talent and foster a future-ready workforce.

The idea is to enable the Bank's 5,000-strong technology and operations workforce to be upskilled and certified as part of their learning journey. In addition, fresh graduates and budding professionals can also apply for internship opportunities, as well as programmes encompassing structured classroom sessions and on-the-job training.

Susan Hwee, Head, Group Technology and Operations, UOB, explained: "UOB GTO Academy will provide the growth platform for continuous learning and development for our people, and open doors to roles in operations and technology-related fields, for both existing staff and new joiners. We are excited that GTO Academy will also provide continuous upskilling for our people in GTO to develop their career with UOB."

One of the Academy's programmes is the Technology Development Programme (TDP), which comprises a 12-month structured training for participants in domains such as cybersecurity, software and IT infrastructure. It is open to graduates holding science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) foundation, and also to non-STEM majors from universities, polytechnics and ITEs. Upon completion, participants will receive certifications in their areas of expertise such as DevOps, Oracle Certified JAVA programmer and ITIL certificates.

Accounting graduate Ong Han Sheng, 25, who has switched courses to pursue a career in cybersecurity, has been a beneficiary of the Academy. Currently handling access management, issues monitoring and troubleshooting as well as UAT testing for UOB’s cybersecurity platform, Ong said: "For me, it has been quite a fulfilling journey thus far because I really enjoy the training structure. You learn the foundational skills first, then you get to apply it for real during the OJT."

In addition, UOB GTO Academy is partnering Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT) to grow its technology and operations talents via SIT’s Work Study Programme and Capstone Projects. Both parties will jointly set up an accelerator to support fintech education and innovation. 

UOB also inked three other MOUs: with the Singapore Institute of Management (SIM), the National University of Singapore (NUS), and the Institute of Banking and Finance (IBF) to further develop employees’ capabilities in technical expertise as well as soft skills. The MOU with SIM will entail the Bank setting up a corporate university with the help of SIM, where leadership and other development courses will be offered to employees. Meanwhile, NUS will offer workshops and courses to upskill UOB employees in technical and business competencies, as well as in areas including emerging technologies, the future of banking, and environmental, social and governance (ESG).

In its work with IBF, the Bank will explore new reskilling and upskilling initiatives for employees, as well as expand on existing ones. 

Finally, to better promote a balanced way of working, UOB has issued a set of meeting etiquette. These include not scheduling meetings before and after working hours, and on weekends; and discouraging organisers from involving too many people from the same team in a meeting.

Per the Bank, the idea behind these guidelines is to "reduce the amount of time employees spend in meetings, thereby increasing their work efficiency and free(ing) up more time for them to spend with their families and pursue their personal interests".

The meeting etiquettes are on top of existing perks, such as a two-day remote work arrangement effective 1 July 2022 in Singapore as well as its overseas offices. The Bank also has a 'Flexi-2' programme, where all employees are given an additional two hours off during a work day every month to attend to personal matters. Other perks include a choice of staggered start-work times, reimbursements for medical screenings and TCM treatment, childcare and dependent care centre fees, and vacation expenses.

With a network of 500 offices in 19 countries and territories in Asia Pacific, Europe and North America, UOB operates through its head office in Singapore and banking subsidiaries in China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam, as well as branches and representative offices across the region.

All photos / HRO

Follow us on Telegram and on Instagram @humanresourcesonline for all the latest HR and manpower news from around the region! 

Follow us on Telegram and on Instagram @humanresourcesonline for all the latest HR and manpower news from around the region!

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