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Morning Coffee: Singapore finance professionals face smaller pay rises

Small pay rise

It’s official: Singapore is no longer a job market fuelled by big pay rises. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced at the weekend that Singaporeans should prepare themselves for lower pay increases as economic growth moderates to between 2% and 3% over the next five years – a level more in line with other developed countries. “3% means your wages will go up correspondingly, gradually, year to year – maybe not every year, but over four, five years, you will see improvements if we are successful in our policies,” Lee told local media.

His comments on the wider job market generally reflect the outlook for salaries in Singapore’s banking sector. Offshoring of back-office roles away from Singapore has put an end to the big build-out of global operations hubs there, which had previously created talent shortages and pushed up pay. Recruiters in Singapore no longer talk of an across-the-board battle for talent Share on twitter and say banks’ local salary policies have recently fallen more in line with those in London and New York.

There are some outlier functions bucking this trend, however. Where skill shortages do still exist in Singapore, banks won’t be afraid to pay above-average salary increases this year to recruit and retain. Compliance, risk and relationship management are the main three examples – click here for a more comprehensive list. Restrictions on junior foreign talent under the Fair Consideration Framework are also helping to drive wage inflation for finance technology roles in Singapore, although this may be short lived if more local graduates take on IT roles at banks.


What banks and property managers in Singapore are doing to protect finance workers from terror attacks. (Asia One)

Hong Kong Monetary Authority reviews foreign currency operations of banks and brokers as Swiss franc surges. (South China Morning Post)

HSBC, Bank of East Asia and Cathay United Bank among the Hong Kong-based banks caught up in boiler-room schemes led by British and American expatriates based in Thailand and the Philippines. (South China Morning Post)

Standard Chartered could sell stakes in Asian banks. (Reuters)

Vast majority of Chinese women want their partner to earn double their salary, says new survey. (Wall Street Journal)

Nanyang Technological University wins global MBA case competition. (Straits Times)

Huge pay hike for China’s top civil servants. (Straits Times)

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