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Singapore banks cut 300 jobs, but salaries rise

Headcount down, pay up

Headcount down, pay up

Singapore’s three local banks have cut more than 300 jobs combined over the past 12 months, but their staff are better paid than a year ago, according to their Q3 results.

UOB led the drop in headcount – it employed 450 fewer people at the end of September this year than it did at the same point in 2015.

DBS’s workforce inched down by 18, but OCBC bucked the trend – although it only added 157 staff.

These numbers show that recent recruitment sprees at Singapore banks have ground to a halt in face of slowing local and regional economic growth.

Between Q3 2014 and Q3 2015, the banks added nearly 2,000 new people between them.

While DBS, OCBC and UOB are still major recruiters in Singapore, their hiring is now focused on replacing people who leave. “They’ve become more conservative this year, largely because of the economy,” says a headhunter in the city state.

The banks have not had to cut pay and bonuses, however.

Annual growth of staff costs per head – total employee expenses (such as salaries and bonuses) divided by total headcount – remains fairly strong at all three domestic banks, according to figures compiled from their third quarter results.

Most dramatically, costs per worker rose 4.6% year-on-year in Q3 at OCBC – well above Singapore’s current rate of inflation of 0.9%

Image credit: Getty, Paul Bradbury

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