The coming weeks and months will be busy ones for candidates looking for banking jobs in Singapore as bonuses are paid and headcount budgets open up.
But many of the banking professionals I speak to want to change jobs in 2015 for the wrong reasons. If you are motivated primarily by any of the five factors outlined in my previous article, my advice is to advance your career within your current company.
In this article, by contrast, I have distilled the main reasons that (from my experience as a recruiter) generally lead to successful moves into new banking jobs in Singapore. If you are motivated by one or more of the following factors, 2015 may be the year that your join a new employer.
As I pointed out in my earlier article, making a rash, uninvited move because several colleagues have recently quit is not advisable. It’s a different story when your former boss asks you to join them at their new bank. This is one of the ultimate compliments that you can be paid in your career – don’t underestimate what a big deal this is. Your boss is willing to stake their professional reputation on you! They could have started afresh and hired a new person, but they chose you. This is also the best way to get a new banking job in Singapore because you already have a strong working relationship with a senior stakeholder. This move can fast forward your career significantly at relatively no risk – and it’s one of the best career references you can get.
As a recruiter, I speak to people every day who possess specialised banking skills but are keen to “try something different”. Whether it’s a product controller who’s keen on breaking into projects or an operations or trade-support person who likes the idea of a client-service role, there are definitely more banking professionals in Singapore interested in a career change than ever before. But in practice, even in talent-short areas of Asian banking, career changes are still quite rare due to the highly specialised nature of the sector. [efc_twitter text="If you’re lucky enough to be offered a career change in 2015, grab it with both hands"].
OK, I understand that only a certain number of people can be promoted each year, particularly at a senior level. And I also understand that promotions are harder to come by now in Singapore than they were during the boom era of 2005 to 2008, when banks were trying to build big back-office teams here. However, a broken promise should not be excused. If you are a top performer and have been groomed for and specifically promised a promotion, chances are you have been putting in extra effort for most of your career. You are exactly the kind of person that rival banks in Singapore want to hire in 2015. Now is the time to move to a new firm rather than wait another year and potentially be overlooked for promotion again.
Anecdotally, from my experience in Singapore, the ratio of banking professionals looking to break into the buy side compared with available roles here must be around 50-1. Therefore, [efc_twitter text="if you are offered a buy-side role, you should in almost all circumstances take it"]. Yes, you will probably move for a flat or reduced base salary at first, but it’s important to remind yourself of how rare this opportunity is, especially in Asia where the buy-side is still an emerging sector.
Good call. If you have decided to leave your job, the best time to do something about it is now. But too many candidates I speak to in Singapore tell me that while they are definitely moving on, they won’t in fact start looking until much later in the year. Whether you notice it or not, your enthusiasm levels will drop off significantly once you decide to depart. This can be a disaster for your banking career as most employers remember your last 12 months with them, not your first 12. [efc_twitter text="Ever wondered why a lot of senior bankers are put on gardening leave once they resign?"] Because having them around would do more harm than good. In any case, trying to keep your decision a secret from your boss and colleagues is almost impossible.
Craig Brewer is a director at recruitment firm FiveTen Group in Singapore.