Recent waves of redundancies at global banks in Singapore have one common characteristic – they’ve been aimed largely at expensive senior staff. While job hunting at the top of the banking tree has always been more difficult than at the bottom, the difference is now even more extreme.
But in which particular parts of Singapore financial services is it toughest (and easiest) for experienced staff to get work? To find out, we analysed our database across 16 key finance job functions and compared the number of Singapore-based vacancies demanding at least 10 years’ experience with the number of local CVs at that level.
In the sectors toward the top of the table (see below), older candidates are currently enjoying more straightforward job searches.
In quantitative analytics – a talent-short function which demands strong academic credentials – there are ‘only’ 27 resumes on our database for every Singapore vacancy. The job market in compliance appears similarly strong. As we reported last week, compliance in Singapore hasn’t returned to its heady pre-2017 levels, but it is now stronger than during the past two years, say recruiters. There are caveats, however. To get a job, you might need to work outside the bulge bracket, specialise in anti-money laundering, improve your tech skills, or take a contract role (or all of these things).
Senior candidates also face less competition in asset management, hedge funds and private equity, largely because experienced buy-side professionals in Singapore remain thin on the ground.
Even in these comparatively buoyant functions, however, the trend is clear: senior jobs are hard to come by right now in Singapore, despite the busy post-bonus recruitment season now starting to kick in.
Lower down the table, several job functions have CV-to-vacancy ratios of more than 100. The lack of jobs in equities (research, sales and trading) reflects recent job cuts in the sector (Deutsche Bank made redundancies in its Asian equities team earlier last year, for example) and the poor performance of Asian equities teams in late 2018 when markets tanked. The 2018 financial results of Credit Suisse, HSBC, DBS and OCBC have all revealed bad Asian trading numbers for Q4.
If you’re a senior operations professional looking for a job in Singapore right now, good luck. While there are bright spots in the back office (KYC chief among them), cost cutting is still of the essence. Banks are either still offshoring operations roles to cheaper markets like India or hiring junior operations staff into Singapore-based jobs.
Technology jobs are also toward the bottom of our list. This is surprising, given that our recent analysis of careers sites showed that 27% of Singapore-based vacancies across large banks are in tech-related roles. The candidate-to-vacancy ratio in tech suggests that banks are focused on junior recruitment as they ramp up hiring in emerging technologies such as machine learning. By contrast, as we noted last year, hiring for legacy-system jobs (which typically require older technologists) is on the decline in Singapore.
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