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Job rotation is key to recruitment and retention as DBS expands in China, says the bank’s HR head

Banks beat forecasts

Banks beat forecasts

DBS says it will inject another 2.3bn yuan into its Chinese subsidiary to accelerate expansion in the mainland. In 2011 its China business contributed 30 per cent of total profit growth, and earlier this year the Singaporean bank opened a new branch in Chongqing. Unsurprisingly, this is all leading to more hiring.

Janice Foo, DBS China’s head of human resources, says although recruitment is across all functions, there are higher volumes in the front office and in operations. Those at mid-to-senior management level are also comparatively more sought after. “DBS is a regional bank and Asia is its focus for growth. China is an important high-growth market and the bank plans to continue investing to expand its franchise in the country,” she tells eFinancialCareers.

But why would Chinese professionals want to work for a Singaporean foreign bank, as opposed to a Western one? After all, the employment market in China is aggressive and DBS faces strong competition from the likes of Standard Chartered, HSBC and Citi. “With our good brand name and the career opportunities we can offer across the region, we are still able to attract good candidates to join us,” explains Foo.

The firm also recruits and retains people by offering career-development mentoring, job-rotation programmes and recreational clubs. “DBS encourages staff to rotate across both functions and geographies to give them exposure to different types of banking and to allow them to participate first hand in Asia’s growth story. This internal mobility is helpful in growing cross-functional competencies and developing leaders for all areas in the bank,” adds Foo. 

At a graduate recruitment level, DBS runs workshops with top universities like Fudan, helping it to hire directly from the student talent pool.

“Banking is a people business. Apart from attracting new talent, DBS China values its existing staff and has actively engaged them by setting up an employee engagement taskforce,” says Foo.

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