Will you be looking for a new banking job in Singapore in 2016? We’ve compiled a list of the top 2016 predictions from finance recruiters in Singapore. Here’s what they say will be the key career trends and hot jobs next year.
1. There will be less hiring than usual in the first quarter
The redundancies announced in the final quarter of 2015 (think Barclays, Deutsche Bank and Standard Chartered) will continue to be implemented in 2016, while banks will continue to assess whether back-office jobs should remain in Singapore or be offshored to lower cost Asian markets, says Evelyn Lee, manager of financial services at recruiters Robert Walters in Singapore. Against this subdued backdrop, banking professionals will be “more cautious and prudent” about changing jobs and fewer vacancies than normal will open up in the traditionally busy post-bonus hiring season in February to April.
2. Japanese and Chinese banks will be cherry picking
It won’t just be Singaporean banks who will try to hire staff made redundant from global firms. “Japanese and Chinese banks in Singapore will benefit from a wave of fresh candidates on the market from the global giants,” says Lynne Roeder, managing director of recruitment agency Hays in Singapore. Corporate bankers will be particularly sought after at the likes of Mizuho and Bank of China. “They are welcoming front-office candidates who can bring along a portfolio of clients with a good credit record, including large Singaporean corporates.”
3. More roles will be regional in Singapore in 2016
The establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) in November – the first step in creating a single market in Southeast Asia – could help to generate more regionally-focused banking jobs in Singapore. “We will begin to see hiring and careers shaped by AEC and the increased competition it will bring across the region,” says Roeder. “Banks will look for candidates who’ve had regional remits and are experienced in cross-border controls to enable them to take advantage of a single marketplace. And more jobs will require regional travel.”
4. Private banks will need more product managers
The perennial battle for relationship mangers will continue into next year – but private banks won’t just need client-schmoozing staff. “Product managers across private banking will be in demand next year as banks continue to invest in technology in a bid to offer innovative digital banking solutions to clients,” says Lim Chaileng, director of banking, accounting and finance at recruitment company Randstad in Singapore. UBS, for example, opened an ‘innovation lab’ in Singapore in June to develop digital products for private clients.
5. Investment bankers will turn to corporates
Bankers moving to corporate development jobs in expansionist Chinese companies was a key trend in Hong Kong and China this year – and the same pattern could soon emerge in Singapore. “A growing number of investment bankers and some private equity professionals will move to in-house corporate development, finance and fund-raising roles, especially within tech firms,” says Jay Abeyasinghe, manager of private equity and investment banking at recruiters Morgan McKinley in Singapore. “Coming from the highly volatile world of investment banking, opportunities within tech firms provide new challenges, more job security and a potential financial upside through equity stakes.”
6. While ops and IT staff will turn to fintech
If 2015 was about senior bankers setting up their own fintech firms in Singapore, next year will see these start-ups try to poach more rank-and-file employees from the banks. Developers and operations staff will be their key targets and recruitment shouldn’t be too difficult given that both these functions are under continued threat from offshoring. “Roles within fintech companies will be increasingly in demand in Singapore among banking candidates who are tired of the endless rounds of restructuring they have lived through,” says Abeyasinghe.
7. Strategists will be sought after in 2016
If you’re looking to make a career change next year but want to stay in banking, recruiters say there will more roles available within banks’ strategy teams. This is still a niche job sector, however, and competition for each vacancy will be strong. “Strategy and planning roles should see more upside as banks prepare themselves for upcoming headwinds such as China’s economic deceleration,” says Jeremy Tan, a senior consultant at recruitment firm Ambition in Singapore.
8. And so will regulatory contractors
“Due to talent shortages and constant changes in regulations, we’ll see an increase in the number of regulatory advisory positions, with the possibility of banks paying a premium for good talent. The focus won’t just be on Singaporean regulations – knowledge of international rules will also be needed,” says Ng Lay Hoon, head of financial services at recruitment agency Michael Page in Singapore. “Contractors will need to be operational as soon as they start work.”
9. Benefits will matter more
As banks become less willing to pay big salary increments to new recruits thanks to a glut of unemployed finance professionals hitting the market, recruiters say non-monetary benefits will become more important to candidates deciding which bank to join next year. “We’ll see a big rise in the importance of a range of benefits including insurance coverage, work-life balance and office location,” says Richard Farmer, APAC director at recruitment agency Selby Jennings.
10. Data scientists will be hot in Singapore next year
There was some hiring in this function in 2015 – but next year both local and global banks will be ramping up their recruitment. “Data scientists will be high demand – international banks are expanding their teams. The Singapore government is now encouraging banks to base their in-house operations in the country, with data analytics across all sectors expected to contribute S$1bn to the local economy by 2017,” explains Farmer.
Image credit: Jenny Zhang, iStock Editorial, Thinkstock