DBS’s headcount jumped by 1,563. But it’s just about one job

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DBS’s headcount jumped by 1,563. But it’s just about one job

DBS’s headcount rose by 1,563 in the year to end-September as it added more technology jobs and its markets unit enjoyed a bumper third quarter. Singapore’s largest bank employed 27,981 people at the end of Q3 2019, up from 26,418 a year previously, according to its Q3 financial results. DBS took on 851 and 448 more people than OCBC and UOB did, respectively, over the same period.

How did DBS manage to boost its workforce by 6% in just a year? About 61% of the 1,563 new DBS jobs were for what the firm classifies as “insourced” tech professionals – people who previously worked on DBS tech projects at vendors but are now employed by the bank. DBS has been bringing technologists in-house for the last couple of years and these new figures show the process is ongoing.

Technology professionals may account for an even greater proportion of the new recruits at DBS, because the bank hasn’t only been putting ex-vendor staff on its payroll – it’s also been poaching from both tech firms and banks. Last month, for example, it hired Pedro Sttau from startup iCar Asia as head of architecture for group consumer banking and big data analytics technology. Soh Siew Choo, who leads Sttau’s department, told us earlier this year that she likes recruiting from outside the banking sector, and wants to take on senior engineers to lead DBS’s development of AI, deep-data engineering, APIs, and mobile applications.

DBS has 173 Singapore-based tech roles on its careers site, which is more than a third of its overall vacancy total. Its annual recruitment hackathon, Hack2Hire, also helps it to add new junior developers – as many as 100 in Singapore and India – to its workforce.

If you want to work for DBS but you’re not a tech professional, joining the bank as a trader seems particularly attractive right now, if you can find a job there. In DBS’s treasury markets unit, profit before tax more than doubled year-on-year to S$334m for the first nine months, as income increased “from interest rate, credit, foreign exchange and equity activities”. But it doesn’t look like DBS has been hiring more markets staff – expenses were stable at S$453m.

Meanwhile, DBS is getting (slightly) more generous with its compensation, perhaps partly because its recent technology hires are well rewarded. Staff costs per head at DBS – total employee expenditure (such as salaries and bonuses) divided by total headcount – went up by S$2,757 year-on-year to reach S$92,884 for the first nine months.

Image credit: Tomatopictures, Getty

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