Q3 has been a slow quarter with many banks withholding recruitment, largely due to the economic and political uncertainty and escalating trade tensions in the region and globally. The Singapore financial services sector was impacted by the dip in trade demands, weak performance of the financial markets as well as investors taking a conservative approach in investment products.

Although we observed a slowdown in the banking sector, there was a pick up in hiring activity from alternative investment firms, particularly in private equity, venture capitalists and family offices.

digital transformation and restructuring affect senior-level roles

Candidates in areas such as analytics, digital marketing, cybersecurity, technology risk and big data remain highly sought-after, with many banks and financial services firms looking for talent outside of the banking environment.

In general, recruitment needs in the banking sector were mainly due to attrition and redundancy as a result of the banks' restructuring activities. With the adoption of technology, banks are keeping their corporate structures lean and flat to promote faster decision-making. This means teams will need less supervision, resulting in fewer senior-level vacancies and higher cost-efficiency.

cautious hiring approach expected to persist into 2020

As we wrap up 2019, we anticipate recruitment activities in banking will continue to remain conservative, at least till quarter two of 2020. The Q3 - Q4 Banking and Financial Services Market Outlook report offer an insight into nine areas, including private banking, contracting, risk and governance, and technology.

1. private banking

Private banks in Singapore are still looking at growing their books in key markets, albeit rather conservatively. It is apparent that certain players in the banking industry have explored and tapped on strategic business solutions to expand into emerging markets such as Thailand and Vietnam. This is being done in a bid to capture and provide wealth advisory services to onshore Ultra-High-Net-Worth (UNHW) clients.

Private bankers in this space are hence highly sought-after, and more so if they are experienced or have clients who are looking to expand their portfolio on an international platform.

2. risk and governance

Financial crime and anti-money laundering continued to be the hot areas for talent growth and will remain a key focus for many banks moving into 2020. As Singapore solidifies its position as Asia’s wealth management hub, many private banks are strengthening their capabilities, resulting in the surge in talent demand in this space.

With the new Payments Services Bill introduced by MAS early this year, start-ups have started to place more emphasis on compliance activities. They have been observed to bring in talent directly from banks, established payment service providers or traditional remittance houses to assist in the set up of compliance frameworks.

Compliance talent with fintech experience are particularly sought after as they bring with them best practices and insights on the best way to navigate new regulations.

3. contracting

Banks continued to hire contractors for compliance, regulatory reporting, operations process improvement, as well as change management roles in response to the ongoing changes in the regulatory environment, automation and transformation projects.

Read more about the contract talent demand in banking in our ‘most-in-demand contract banking jobs in singapore 2019/2020’ report.

4. technology

Digital, cybersecurity and big data teams in banks continue to hire in large volumes. Local banks in particular have been actively targeting candidates from technology firms like Amazon Web Services and Google to boost their efforts in deepening their capabilities. These tech talent are not hired just to drive transformation from a digitalisation perspective, but also to improve the banks’ core infrastructure by focussing on areas such as SRE (Site Reliability Engineering).

areas covered in the outlook report include:

  • front office
  • private banking
  • retail and wealth management
  • risk and governance
  • operations
  • finance
  • contracting
  • technology
  • human resources

fill in the form below to download the 2019 Q3/Q4 Banking and Financial Services Market Outlook report.

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