Why DBS took on 2,683 people in just 12 months

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How DBS took on 2,683 people in just 12 months

DBS’s headcount shot up by 11% last year as it added 2,683 people, partly thanks to a surge in tech recruitment. The Singaporean bank employed 26,857 staff at the end of 2018, up from 24,174 a year previously, according to its annual financial results, which were released today.

How did DBS manage to take on so many people in just 12 months? About 60% of the 2,683 are either “insourced” tech professionals (who previously worked on DBS projects at vendors but are now employed by the bank) and ex-ANZ employees, according to DBS’s earnings report, which does not distinguish between these two sets of new staff. DBS acquired ANZ’s Asian retail and wealth units back in 2016, but the final addition of ANZ people into DBS’s workforce didn’t take place until February last year.

Where did the remaining 40% of the new DBS employees come from? The bank’s report doesn’t specifically say, but it’s safe to assume that many of them are working in technology. DBS has been hiring technologists over and above those previously at vendors. Our analysis of the bank’s vacancies late last year found that one in four of its openings were in tech or digital banking roles. DBS hires about 100 people a year via its annual hackathon in Singapore, including scrum masters, mobile application developers, full stack developers, DevOps engineers, QA engineers, and UI/UX developers.

How do I get a job at DBS?

If you want to get a non-technology job at DBS in 2019, you are advised to target one of its better performing teams. Within Institutional Banking, however, this doesn’t necessarily mean capital markets or M&A. It was cash management that generated “record income” last year and helped the division triple its full-year pre-tax profit to S$3.37bn.

Profits were also healthy (up 23% to S$2.39bn) for Consumer Banking and Wealth Management. Don’t expect heady hiring in DBS’s private bank this year, however – the firm pursues a policy of selectively adding relationship managers. Hiring sprees on a UBS scale (it added 101 RMs last year) are unlikely.

If there’s a division to avoid working for at DBS right now, it’s probably Treasury Markets. For the full year, profit before tax declined 68% to S$90m, with income affected by “lower contributions from interest rate, equity and credit activities, partially mitigated by higher contributions from foreign exchange activities”.

Forebodingly for bonuses, Q4 earnings were 7% below the previous quarter, due to “unfavourable market conditions”. DBS is not the only bank in Asia whose traders suffered toward the end of the year. Fourth quarter Asian revenue slumped at Credit Suisse in both equities and fixed-income trading.

Have a confidential story, tip, or comment you’d like to share? Contact: smortlock@efinancialcareers.com

Image credit: Tomatopictures, Getty

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