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Office workers at Raffles Place financial business district in Singapore (Photo by Roslan RAHMAN / AFP)

Demand for financial services professionals still high in Singapore

When banks and other financial services industries started adopting fintech to meet growing customer demands, there were concerns about what would happen to jobs in the industry. In most cases, when technology reduces a need for a particular skill set, the employee would need to upskill or reskill to remain relevant to the organization.

In the case of financial services, the increased adoption of fintech would mean a reduced need for banking and financing employees. However, that may not necessarily be the case at this point in time.

The reality is though, while fintech has made some roles redundant in the financial services industry, there was still a shortage of staff in the industry. Simply put, there was now a bigger need for roles to manage these technologies in the industry as not every process can be fully automated.

According to findings from a new report from global professional services recruitment consultancy Robert Walters – Hiring Trends in the World’s Leading Financial Services Cities, hiring has instead reached peak levels for financial services across the globe. The report stated that eight major hubs around the globe had increased the number of job roles advertised by 64%, making the sector one of the fastest hiring industries post-pandemic, after the technology sector itself.

What makes the findings more interesting is that the Asia Pacific region has steadily made gains in the past year with Singapore (250,000), Sydney (167,364), and Tokyo (166,000+) being the most notable cities with high levels of financial services talent.

Hiring is expected to increase significantly within the fintech payment services, which are slated to rebound as global travel and overseas tourism resume, in Singapore.  In 2022, financial services firms will need to hire more hybrid talent, such as professionals skilled in both technology and operations. Compliance talent, in particular, will be in high demand, as new fintech and digital banking businesses open in Singapore, and draw talent away from more traditional banking and fund management sectors.

“Key challenges for companies would be the tighter employment rules in a candidate-short market, and a greater desire from employees for more flexible ways of working. To secure the talent needed, we advise financial services firms to recruit quickly, streamline hiring processes, emphasize overall candidate experience, and be flexible and pragmatic in their approach to hiring,” added Priya Gupta, Manager, Financial Services, Robert Walters Singapore.

Globally, New York (48,595), London (38,945), and Paris (24,165) continue to dominate on the hiring front. However, it is across APAC where the best conditions for hire are available, with professionals in Sydney (81%), Singapore (76%), Hong Kong (67%), and Tokyo (60%) all expressing a high willingness to leave their role despite this being the tightest candidate market seen in decades.

For Toby Fowlston, CEO of Robert Walters, whilst the pandemic did not have the expected harmful financial effects on the global banking industry, it has certainly accelerated change in a multitude of other areas.

Fowlston commented that digital banking boomed whilst cash use fell, savings expanded and credit card debts were paid-off in record time, remote became a way of working, data capture and usage is a central business function, and environment and sustainability are now front of mind for customers and regulators.

“All of this change has led to exponential hiring in the sector – with each hub trying to fight for the same talent at the same time, the results being a fiercely competitive recruitment market like we’ve never seen before, with execs being offered over +30-40% pay increases with the option to work from anywhere in the world,” explained Fowlston.