The coronavirus pandemic looks set to cement Singapore’s position as the destination of choice in Asia for finance and tech professionals.
The city state was already seeing a steady flow of talent from Europe and the US, as well as Hong Kong and China, before the virus struck.
And with it being well positioned to recover from the current situation once Covid-19 is under control, this trend looks set to continue.
Meanwhile, the travel and immigration restrictions imposed by various governments during the pandemic are also expected to cause many Southeast Asian talent, who are currently working overseas, to think about relocating to be closer to home.
Will Tan, managing director of executive search firm Principle Partners, says: “Singapore is currently the destination of choice for finance and tech professionals in Asia. People from the region who may have spent a number of years in the US and Europe may now feel it is time to come back, either for personal reasons to be closer to family, or because of the five to 10-year growth expectations for Singapore and the region.”
He points out that Singapore’s government has worked hard in recent years to attract top talent to the city and position it as a regional asset management centre and fintech hub.
“It is the blueprint for Singapore’s future growth. The infrastructure is in place and there is already an international talent pool, which we expect to grow once the current situation clears.” Tan says.
He also expects to see a continuation of the trend for talent in Hong Kong to relocate to Singapore.
“Although this has stopped for the time being due to the pandemic, we were seeing a flow of talent from Hong Kong to Singapore owing to the ongoing protests in Hong Kong. We have seen funds with headquarters in Hong Kong opening a Singapore office to give employees the option of moving here. We have also seen fund managers relocating here and we expect that trend to continue once the virus clears.” he says.
He points out that Singapore is seen as a good location for families due to being safe, having high education standards and larger apartments.
For talents who are interested in relocating, Tan says there is high demand for experienced professionals in Singapore’s growing family office space.
“There is a lot of wealth being transferred to Singapore and managed out of Singapore because of its stability, and that will continue to grow.”
He adds that there is also a rising need for seasoned investment professionals as the city looks to deepen the talent pool in investment management.
At the same time, the fintech industry in the city continues to expand, with the Monetary Authority of Singapore due to issue up to five digital banking licences this year.
“There is a big push to develop and grow the fintech industry in Singapore, so talent in that area will be in high demand. There is also continued demand for data science professionals across all levels, but especially at the mid to senior level, as it remains one of the hottest areas.” he says.
Given the vibrancy of Singapore’s asset management and fintech space, Tan thinks moving to the city offers good career development prospects for talent.
“There is a lot of commitment from the government to grow these industries creating opportunities for talent growth.” he says.
Tan encourages people who are interested in relocating to Singapore, or who are already based there but are looking for their next move, to contact Principle Partners.
The firm has more than 12 years of experience operating in Singapore and the region, and specialises in positions in the financial services industry and emerging technology. “These are areas we have expertly covered for many years.” Tan says.
He adds that despite the flow of talent from Hong Kong to Singapore, Hong Kong still remains a very deep market for professionals working in finance, and Principle Partners can also help talent who are looking to move there.
Tan advises people who are looking for their next opportunity to get in touch now, even though many firms have put recruitment on hold due to the uncertainty caused by the pandemic, and the fact that they are currently unable to interview candidates face-to-face.
“We are still hearing from our clients and it is really just a timing issue. They need to hire, and are just waiting one or two months to do so.”
He adds that there appears to be a lot of pent-up demand, and once Singapore has recovered from the virus, he expects the recruitment scene to be accelerate and make up for lost time.
“So, it is good to check in with us now and we can start selectively talking to some potential employers. Once companies are ready, things will potentially move very quickly.”