What kind of candidates are top of mind among banking recruiters in Asia Pacific right now? What skill sets have become more sought after in the region this year?
We spoke to recruiters in Hong Kong, Singapore and Sydney to find out.
1. Data science
“Every other department in Asian banking wants to hire data scientists – now it’s not just in the business and innovation areas, but in corporate functions like audit and HR,” says Pan Zaixian, general manager of recruitment firm Kerry Consulting in Singapore. “The challenge for banks is finding enough people in the more rigorous data science domain, rather than in data analytics.”
“Market volatility has made financial forecasting an important skill within banks, and the latest trend to emerge is superforecasting – harnessing the talents of the bank’s best financial forecasters to gain a competitive edge,” says Andrew Morris, Australian director of recruiters Robert Half. “Superforecasting is a useful skill for business, financial and commercial analysts. And because it’s only just emerging in the banking sector, demand is expected to grow over the next several years.”
3. IFRS 9
This important financial reporting standard, which will become mandatory on 1 January 2018, is triggering hiring within banks’ risk teams. “Because it’s relatively new, banks are open to candidates with corporate and wholesale credit-model experience, but it’s a steep learning curve for them,” says Sumukhi Ramnath, a senior consultant at recruiters Ambition in Singapore. “Candidates who complete the IFRS 9 certification usually have an edge.”
4. Cyber security
“As Singapore focuses on becoming a fintech hub, most of the bulge bracket banks are now strengthening their capacity in cyber security here,” says Nilay Khandelwal, regional director of recruitment agency Michael Page in Singapore. “The Singapore talent pool is small, however, so banks are hiring entry-level candidates from local universities as well as experienced professionals from overseas.”
Ultra-high-net-worth bankers serving Asia’s uber wealthy are more in demand as some private banks have recently raised their investment thresholds. J.P. Morgan has doubled its target client segment to at least $10m in Asia, while Standard Chartered has increased its to $5m. “The rapidly rising number of high-net-worth people in Asia has led to service levels in private banking become less prestigious,” says Maggie Li, an associate director at recruiters Randstad in Hong Kong. “To cope with the influx of new wealth, banks have increased their entry barriers, so skills in UHNW advising have become more sought after.”
6. Risk operations
“In Australia, the increasing focus on APRA and AUSTRAC regulatory requirements has led to new risk operations teams being created. Both temporary and permanent jobs are available to meet specific regulatory deadlines,” says Carl Piesse, a regional director at recruiters Hays in Sydney. “We’re also seeing temporary roles in operational risk, enterprise risk management, and controls as banks revise existing frameworks. Banks in Australia are open to candidates with oversees experience, particularly it’s from the UK, Europe or Asia. This is a response to the domestic skill shortage and because regulatory reforms are often rolled out in these markets before Australia.”
7. Robotic process automation
“The case for intelligent software robots to automate labour intensive back-office processes like onboarding is compelling,” says Piesse. “The benefits include efficiency, cost effectiveness, and the reduction of human error to eliminate the risk of customer dissatisfaction and non-compliance. As a result, RPA skills are increasingly in demand, particularly knowledge of Blue Prism software, which has become the tool of choice for many financial services firms.”
Imaged credit: ludhi85, Getty