DBS has increased the amount of "insourced" technology staff – people who used to work with its technology vendors – by 1,362% in just 12 months.
The bank was home to 658 of these employees this Q1, compared to just 45 in the same period in 2016, according to its quarterly results. DBS does not reveal their location, but recruiters say they are mainly based in Singapore.
"Insourcing enables us to create intellectual property, better manage our technology deployment, and improve cost efficiency," says a spokesperson for DBS.
This is in line with DBS’s full-year 2016 results, which noted “certain technology functions that were insourced as part of strategic cost management efforts”.
DBS has been investing heavily in new technology recently. In February, for example, it launched its iWealth mobile platform, which gives private clients better access to data. And last year it opened DBS Asia X, a 16,000 square-feet innovation space.
About a third of Singapore-based vacancies currently advertised on DBS’s careers website are in technology.
The addition of the tech staff helped increase DBS’s workforce to 22,331, according to its Q1 results. But this was a year-on-year rise of only 1.1%.
“Tech aside, it’s been a cautious 12 months for the bank in terms of hiring because economic conditions haven't warranted the type of expansions we’ve seen recently,” say a Singapore recruiter.
Moving more vendor-based technologists in-house has not lead to a sizeable increase in costs at DBS.
Staff costs went up by 1% overall, while costs per head – total employee expenses (such as salaries and bonuses) divided by total headcount – shrunk by 0.4% (as the table below shows).
Image credit: Kokkai Ng, Getty