The job market in Hong Kong and Singapore may not be as buoyant as last year, but it’s not entirely gloomy.
Several new skills are emerging as particularly sought after in the two cities – and many of them have a techie edge. Here’s a selection.
1. AML analytics
Financial crime and anti-money laundering teams at banks in Asia are increasingly hiring in this niche function, says Lim Chaileng a director at recruiters Randstad. “However, talent is scarce because there are vital skills banks need to be combined into one candidate: programming skills (SAS and SQL, for example); experience at a financial institution; and advanced data science/analytics experience.”
2. Regulatory reporting to support IT systems
Want to add some tech to your regulatory resume? “Most banks in Asia, as part of their digital transformation strategy, are looking to improve their IT systems to support increasingly detailed regulatory reporting,” says Lim. “This has led to more demand for regulatory reporting experts to help support these IT-system changes.”
3. Programmers with stress-testing knowledge
Global banks in Asia are looking for people with a “high proficiency in VBA, SAS and SQL” and exposure to stress-testing regimes in the firms’ home markets (the Comprehensive Capital Analysis and Review in the US, for example). “This blend of expertise gives candidates a huge edge in the current Asian job market as these skills are used to help mitigate potential risks across the bank,” says Paul Endacott, Southeast Asia managing director at recruitment firm Ambition.
4. Quant skills in market risk
There’s high demand for quantitative skills within market risk teams, says Endacott. “Looking at the job market in Singapore, one of the most sought after positions is model validation quants, where you’re responsible for implementing pricing models to check on the accuracy and quality of front-office models.”
There’s emerging demand for banking technology professionals who are skilled in DevOps (co-operation throughout the lifecycle of a project to increase automation), says Matthieu Imbert-Bouchard, managing director at recruiters Robert Half in Singapore. “Compared with Europe and the US, banks in Singapore have been slow to catch up on this methodology. Candidates with DevOps expertise are very rare and can negotiate higher salaries during the recruitment process.”
6. Mobile development
Mobile developers in Asia are no longer siloed in retail banking – both UBS and Credit Suisse have launched online platforms to serve billionaire clients, for example. “Mobile development (iOS/Android) is becoming more and more in-demand as banks implement large digital projects to further optimise their customer processes,” says Imbert-Bouchard.
7. Cyber security
Cyber security experts have been sought after in Asia for the past two years. But further demand has been fuelled by a July update of the Monetary Authority of Singapore’s Internet Banking and Technology Risk Management Guidelines. “It’s an important area of hiring focus as most banks are trying to ensure their networks are secure and are in line with the MAS rules,” says Nilay Khandelwal, regional director of recruiters Michael Page in Singapore.
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