Even during a global pandemic, Singapore’s financial services industry continues to uphold its reputation and status as Asia’s leading financial centre. The sector’s performance among local and international banks and financial institutions outperformed expectations in the first half of 2021.
In 2021, financial institutions in Singapore are collectively offering 6,500 newly created positions. Half of the new jobs will be found in technology and consumer banking, while the other positions are split throughout different business lines and functions.
Using the Randstad Salary Calculator (powered by SalaryBoard), we compiled the latest data on the candidate market and talent demand in the banking & financial services industry. Here’s what we discovered from 8,492 profiles submitted from financial professionals.
candidate surpluses in branch banking and wealth management
There is a significant pool of candidates in the areas of branch banking, wealth management and card services, as well as treasury and capital market segments.
With a more conservative job market in the banking industry, demand for branch banking services have lowered due to the pandemic as safe distancing measures have reduced the number of staff and customers allowed in branches. As foot traffic falls to a trickle in branches due to safe distancing measures, in-person services have been replaced by accessible digital banking products and services and rising e-trading platforms in cryptocurrencies, FX and equities, resulting in a shift in skills demands.
steady demand for relationship managers in institutional banking, transactional banking, investment management and family offices
Relationship managers (RMs) are highly sought-after by major retail and commercial banks that are looking to grow their Asia Pacific customer base, particularly in Greater China.
There is a constant demand for RMs and wealth management professionals to service the emerging wealth population in Asian markets. Many financial institutions are employing wealth and relationship managers to build relationships with the emerging high net worth consumers, who are on their way to becoming millionaires in the next 3 to 5 years.
There is still a talent demand for relationship managers, but just not in local retail banking. RMs and wealth managers who worked in branch banking could also potentially switch to other segments within the banking & financial services industry, such as institutional banking, transactional banking, investment management and family offices.
oversupply of candidates in treasury and capital markets
The second area of candidate surplus that we’ve noted is in treasury and capital markets, which adds up to 25% of the current candidate pool. Traditional treasury management and brokerage firms have been disrupted by the emergence of e-trading platforms that allow customers to eliminate the middleman and invest directly.
The muted capital markets in 2020, in part due to the pandemic, have shifted the attention and created more activities in the equity capital market, private equity as well as venture capital investments.
As more and more customers turn to these online platforms, professionals who work in FX trading, equity sales & trading and funds reporting may want to consider making lateral moves within the industry to find new job opportunities.
These professionals could also consider upskilling on data analytics and the decentralised financial systems (DeFi), or finding employment with technology-driven institutions that have experience in deploying revolutionary technologies and research capabilities.
Professionals working in treasury and capital markets can explore opportunities in investment management or family offices - two growth areas within the banking & financial services industry. While it may not be a plug-and-play situation, the skills they have are relatively transferable and professionals may be able to find more stable and long-term career opportunities in their new function.
soft skills can determine a job seeker’s future
With the abundance of job seekers in the market who have similar levels and types of technical skills, many hiring managers are on the lookout for candidates with stand-out soft skills during the interview process.
These are the high in-demand essential skills that many hiring managers and recruiters are looking for in candidates:
- good interpersonal and influential skills to negotiate with stakeholders and clients
- strong organisational skills
- ability to prioritise work and manage deadlines independently
- a flair for storytelling and good communications & presentation skills
Candidates can demonstrate their soft skills during the interview process by giving real-life examples of how they’ve dealt with a difficult situation or managed a team to achieve their business objectives.
saturation of mid-to-late career professionals in the candidate market
There is a saturation of tenured professionals who have more than 8 years of experience in the talent market. Some of these job seekers may be displaced from their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic, business restructuring or lack of key skills to meet the new job requirements. Others may have re-entered the job-seeking market when there are not many new jobs on offer during the peak of the pandemic and have since been stuck looking for one due to their long unemployment period.
However, it’s not all doom and gloom for the mid-career or late-career professionals. 44% of the 6,500 newly created jobs that the financial services sector expect to see in 2021 are open to mid-careerists with adjacent or no experience. Many financial institutions are willing to train mid-career talent for these new roles.
As the banking & financial services sector explores unchartered territories, job seekers who demonstrate the potential to grow and change with the times will have an easier time securing new employment.
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