Western banks in Singapore have become better known for firing rather than hiring in 2016. The year has so far been bookended big front-office job cuts at Barclays (in early January) and Goldman Sachs (in late September).
But global banks do have vacancies in Singapore this quarter, even if hiring is quiet overall. Citi, Standard Chartered and J.P. Morgan all have more than 50 jobs going. Which functions are they recruiting in?
To find out we trawled through the Singapore careers websites of 12 major US and European banks and allocated their advertised roles into the eight broad sectors in the table below.
We then converted these job categories into a percentage of each bank’s overall Singapore vacancies (retail banking, general management, contract, shared services and administrative positions were excluded from the total).
As you might expect, ‘risk, compliance and legal’ is the job group with the most open roles, according to the banks’ careers sites.
But the extent of the middle-office dominance of Singapore banking jobs is still surprising – across all firms more than a third (34%) of current opportunities are governance-related.
And the percentages aren’t only high at HSBC and Standard Chartered – two Asia-focused firms which have been building large local risk and compliance teams for several years – all of Goldman Sachs’ current Singapore vacancies are in this function.
The figures in our table also suggest that while many global banks continue to offshore support jobs away from Singapore into lower-cost markets, they are still recruiting in their back offices.
Operations roles make up 24% of all positions across the 12 banks, including half of those at BAML, Morgan Stanley and SocGen.
Banks still need some of their back-office positions – in particular managerial ones and those dealing with local regulators – to be on the ground in Singapore.
Technology jobs are also comparatively plentiful (18% of the total) in the Republic. Citi and J.P. Morgan continue to build their IT hubs – and they top our table in this job sector as a result.
Front-office openings have all but dried up in Singapore. Job cuts, a slowing local economy and the seasonal fourth-quarter decline in hiring are helping to push down recruitment rates.
Investment banking, capital markets, research, sales, and trading roles only account for 3% of total Singapore vacancies at the international banks we looked at.
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