If you’re about to embark on a search for work in 2018, it pays to know what lies in store. Recruiters in Singapore provide their predictions for the year ahead.
The post-bonus hiring season in investment banking could be comparatively healthy in 2018 as director and MD-level recruitment finally recovers. “Over the past three years, investment banking in Singapore has seen many senior job losses as banks have prioritised cost cutting above revenue generation. As a result, the job market has been saturated with strong candidates,” says Jay Abeyasinghe, associate director of financial services at recruiters Morgan McKinley in Singapore. “But we’ve recently received a significantly increased volume of requests to employ senior bankers. It appears the market may finally have turned a corner.”
Last year the Singapore government launched a plan to encourage banks to retrain staff whose jobs are at risk of being automated. This year more back-office employees will need to take advantage of so-called ‘up-skilling’ initiatives at their banks. “UOB and OCBC, for example, have recently introduced bots to automate routine operational tasks. This has meant redesigning workflows and upskilling employees to take on more challenging roles,” says Lim Chai Leng, a director at recruiters Randstad in Singapore. “Banks will come up with talent development programmes to help ease the digital transition, especially for middle-level managers who are more resistant to the change.”
“More banks will use contingent workers in 2018, across a greater range of functions such as finance, middle-office operations, project management, and technology,” says Grant Torrens, business director at recruiters Hays in Singapore. “High performing contractors will command good salaries and have a high chance of converting into a permanent role. As contracting becomes more prevalent in Singapore, banks are increasingly improving employee benefits to attract the best talent.”
“Regulators will demand more accuracy from banks on their audit findings in 2018, so the traditional audit-sampling approach will be replaced by more sophisticated data mining and predictive data analytics,” says Kieran McKenna, a senior recruitment consultant at Astbury Marsden. “As a result, the less challenging box-ticking audits will start to become automated and candidates in Singapore will have to add value by using their subject matter expertise to deep dive and identify risks within their specialist business areas. For example, an equities audit manager will be more sought after than a generalist audit manager.”
It’s not only large banks like DBS and Standard Chartered that will be boosting their technology ranks this year. “The Singapore insurance industry is in the midst of a substantial shift in demand for roles. Demand for web developers, data scientists, app developers and digital specialists is now rampant,” says Adam Piper, a senior manager at recruiters iKas. “The appetite for insurers to remain at the forefront of digital innovation means this will be a boom area throughout 2018.”
“Banks in Singapore will continue to embrace advanced business-analytics data mining and predictive-modelling techniques,” says Ivan Tang, managing partner at Tangspac Consulting. “SAS and R programming skills will become even more in demand, for example at group-risk level to help banks model their credit-portfolio risk policies to better tackle Basel II and III. Retail banks will also use business analytics to better track and anticipate the effectiveness of their marketing campaigns.”
Image credit: southtownboy, Getty