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Singaporean banks get flexible in China

The big three Singaporean banks – DBS, UOB and OCBC – are taking a more aggressive and flexible approach in the Chinese recruitment market in order to compete with domestic and other foreign banks.

Their expansion is evidenced by DBS’s target of growing its 1,000-strong headcount by 20 per cent this year. UOB is also growing its branch network –
a further sign that Singaporean banks might be shedding their status as conservative recruiters.

Oliver Draper, director, Consult Group, comments: “When looking at the candidate-hiring requirements of Singapore banks, it is noticeable that recently they have become more flexible in some ways, with less attention on a candidate’s tertiary qualifications and previous working experience and more focus on a candidate’s existing business networks and client portfolios.”

Eugene Yao, recruitment specialist at Hays Banking says unlike other foreign firms in China, Singaporean banks tend to hire directly, instead of using recruiters.

“Most foreign banks recruit through agencies as they want to headhunt from their competitors. But Singapore banks are more open. They do not mind bringing in people from domestic banks, and they can offer a pay range on par with other foreign banks.”

In terms of job functions, corporate and commercial banking are still the most important business lines for Singaporean banks in China.

Yao explains: “Larger Singaporean banks, like DBS tends to focus more on Singaporean corporate clients who operate in China, and these type of organisations represent about 50 per cent or more of their portfolio. A comparatively smaller, family-owned Singaporean bank like UOB is less aggressive in new business acquisition and focuses more on serving long-term clients.”

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  1. How about OCBC?

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