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Why banking recruitment in Singapore is slowing down

Slow recruitment

If you want a banking job in Singapore, get set for a long wait. Banks in the city state are generally slowing down their recruitment processes, taking longer than they did last year to make job offers. But the introduction in August of the Fair Consideration Framework (FCF) – which imposes two weeks of additional advertising to local candidates on a new state-run “Jobs Bank” – is generally not to blame.

The average time it takes to recruit – from the initial vacancy to offer acceptance – for banking jobs in Singapore has “blown out” Share on twitter from two months to about three months over the past year, says Craig Brewer, a director at recruitment agency FiveTen Group in Singapore. Other recruiters we spoke to agree that three months is now standard.

“But for the most part this increase has nothing to do with the introduction of the FCF – banks are now taking longer to hire because in many cases they can simply afford to,” says Brewer.

With the exception of urgent hires in hot job functions like risk and compliance, banks in Singapore want to keep roles open for longer to increase the chances of receiving a wider and stronger range of applications. “It’s more of a buyers’ market right now in Singapore. Overall there are simply more people looking for roles than there are jobs available,” adds Brewer.

Extended hiring periods are not all bad news for job seekers, however. “Candidates have an increased chance of having multiple job interviews at the same time,” explains Orelia Chan, manager of financial services and compliance at recruitment firm Robert Walters in Singapore. “But conversely, longer recruitment times mean you might miss out if the best role ends up having a longer recruitment timescale than the others.”

The FCF, which applies to sub-S$144k jobs and bans overseas hiring before the two weeks of local advertising expires, is only increasing recruitment times on the rare occasions when a firm delays lodging a vacancy on the Jobs Bank, says Will Russell, director of recruiters Ambition in Singapore. “Perhaps the bank didn’t expect to hire a non-Singaporean or they ended up hiring a candidate at a more junior salary than initially anticipated,” he adds.

“If there’s any chance that a bank may hire a non-Singaporean or someone below S$144k, it would be advisable to put the vacancy on the Jobs Bank as soon as it’s released to ensure there are no delays,” advises Russell. “The recruitment process is really only being slowed down if either the employer or the recruitment consultancy aren’t managing the Jobs Bank efficiently.”

As a rule, however, banks are adhering to both the letter and the spirit of the FCF. As we reported last week, banks in Singapore have endorsed the law and are boosting their efforts to hire more local staff. And many firms are now even using the Jobs Bank for senior roles paying above the S$144k threshold. “We’ve seen postings for $144k-plus roles because in general, employers want to attract more local talent regardless of experience level,” says Chan from Robert Walters.


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