Even though hiring activities within the banking and financial services sector were fairly active in 2018, there were signs of moderation towards the end of 2018 that we anticipate will continue throughout this year.

Financial markets around the world have been impacted by the ongoing trade war and Brexit discussions. Companies are monitoring the marketplace closely to identify potential growth as well as areas where opportunities may be lacking, to create a more focussed workforce management strategy.

Many global banks have taken a more conservative approach with regards to their hiring strategy to manage costs this year. Consequently, companies are stepping up their investments in technology and innovative digital solutions so that they can provide a more personalised, positive customer experience.

skills development important for talent attraction

In order to meet this demand, financial services firms will be looking to attract talent with experience in data analytics or who have programming skills within and outside of the financial services sector. Existing employees who do not have the required knowledge or experience to work in a digital-first environment may likely be redeployed to other functions.

This conservative approach in HR (human resources) can also be noted through the smaller bonus payouts and lower salary increment that we have observed since the beginning of this year. In particular, employees working in support functions such as Risk, Audit and Finance can expect smaller bonuses this year.

Employers may also turn down candidates who have salary expectations that they are unable to meet, as budgets are usually already pre-allocated at the beginning of the year by global headquarters. Instead, managers are promising to offer support to each employee’s career development by helping them find growth opportunities within the organisation. This could either be an opportunity to work on a bigger portfolio or with a cross-regional team to increase their exposure. This approach is aligned with most candidates’ expectations, as many seek the chance to grow and develop themselves professionally.

growth still expected despite cautious market

Despite the cautious outlook, we expect growth to sustain in the banking and financial services industry. For instance, the S$75million Grant for Equity Market Singapore (GEMS) will boost the local industry, by helping enterprises raise capital through the Singapore’s equity market. The grant defrays part of companies’ initial public offering costs and reduces HR expenditures to develop the local economic and talent market.

Learn more about the labour movements, in-demand roles and skills and salary benchmarks.

the functions and roles covered in the report include:

  • wealth and bancassurance
  • private banking
  • corporate and SME banking
  • asset management and private equity
  • compliance
  • risk
  • operations
  • finance and audit
  • contracting


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