If it feels like banks in Singapore are dragging their heels when hiring you, they probably are. Agency recruiters in the Republic say recruitment times – from placing an advertisement to making a job offer – are generally longer than last year.
But how long, exactly, are banks in Singapore taking to source new staff? To find out, we asked several Singapore recruiters (Black Swan, Charterhouse, KS International, LMA, Morgan McKinley, Nastrac, Selby Jennings, Randstad, and Robert Walters) to provide minimum and maximum hiring times across 10 broad banking job functions.
We then averaged out the recruiters’ figures to produce the table below and asked them to comment on the jobs in which candidates are waiting longest to get hired.
Hiring in wealth management can take up to 23 weeks in Singapore partly because a plethora of private banks are all trying to poach at the same time. “Another reason why recruitment takes so long is that RMs need to prepare business plans and discuss them with the bank and their clients,” says Gary Lai, managing director for Southeast Asia at Charterhouse Partnership. “RMs need time to carefully do their due diligence on the new platform and get comfortable with the product suite and risk appetite,” adds Jay Abeyasinghe, an associate director of financial services at Morgan McKinley in Singapore.
It’s not just a shortage of candidates in this rapidly growing job function that is lengthening recruitment times (15 weeks is the minimum). “Banks are demanding and cautious about who they hire. Candidates are often required to go through additional interviews – six to 10 rounds in total – and most then aren’t hired because they’re missing a particular skill,” says Ishan Daniel, a senior consultant at Selby Jennings in Singapore.
Investment banks have cut senior jobs in Asia and this is now leading to longer recruitment times when they do need to hire. “There’s a large oversupply of senior candidates on the market so banks in Singapore are taking their time to very carefully assess who is best for the role,” says Abeyasinghe.
There’s a lack of internal auditors in Singapore (banks are hiring so-called subject matter experts from functions such as compliance and technology to fill gaps in their audit teams). But that’s not the only reason it can take up to 18 weeks to bring people on board. “Hectic travel schedules of both hiring managers and candidates mean these roles take much longer to fill as each hiring step can often be drawn out over months to suit the schedules of both parties,” says Lim Chaileng, a director at Randstad in Singapore.
Recruit times in compliance vary according to how niche the job is, says Tim Klimcke, a director at Robert Walters in Singapore. It’s taking banks even longer to find risk managers (up to 15 weeks) due to lengthy interviews processes and a high number of “passive candidates” – people who aren’t pro-actively looking for new jobs and need to be prised out of their current roles.
While developers still take less time to hire than many other professionals, the process is getting lengthier this year. “Technology in Singapore is largely dependent on foreign talent and recent restrictions on visas have caused the time period to place a technology specialist to increase by an average of two weeks,” says Daniel from Selby Jennings.
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