With the Singaporean banking sector increasingly turning to technology for innovative ways of engaging their customer base, the rapid expansion of FinTech shows no signs of abating. This revolution is seeing regulatory bodies scramble to keep up, which is leading to candidate demand on both sides of this coin.
Local banks at the forefront of the retail banking sector, noting the potential profit rise of up to nine per cent should 40 to 70 per cent of expenditure in Singapore shift from cash to cashless payments, have been investing heavily in technology, such as the POSB digibank Virtual Assistant and the use of the Singapore common QR code.
While the technology advances, banking regulators, such as the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), are finding it difficult to spot risks in the industry, often only able to impose sanctions retroactively.
This, according to Lynne Roeder, Managing Director of Hays Singapore, is leading to a rise in demand for candidates in two primary areas ie. FinTech development and Regulatory compliance.
With the global level of banking technology investment tripling to US $8.4 billion in the second quarter of 2017, Singaporean banks are looking for candidates who can help develop this area. “Candidates who have skills in the technological side of the industry are really key right now,” says Lynne. “If they have experience with cyber security, data analysis and digital banking, they will find themselves in high demand.”
On the flip side of this, there is growth too in the market for risk professionals and auditors. “Due to regulatory changes, in the last couple of years compliance professionals have been in demand and this will continue to be the case as banks are under scrutiny, not just from MAS but also globally,” continues Lynne. “Anti-money laundering specialists and certified examiners are attracting high levels of interest.” “Candidates who have been involved in anti-money laundering investigations are being seen as instrumental by companies looking to shore up regulatory issues in their own services.”
Demand for these candidates is high, meaning banks searching in this talent short market are finding it difficult to fill positions with people holding the necessary recent knowledge or skillsets. This is a situation that is intensified by a governmental imposition to hire from within Singapore, cutting out a once fruitful overseas candidate field. “Due to the need to focus on Singaporeans and Singapore residents for jobs, many banks have struggled,” Lynne says. “But banks have their hands tied because they cannot hire from abroad until they can demonstrate that they have scoured the home market.”
This situation makes it even harder for banks, as candidates with international experience are still seen as being particularly attractive. As such, they are having to narrow their search parameters. “More and more often, banks are turning to Singaporeans working abroad, particularly in Singapore based institutions. Employers are increasingly keen on this, and although financial packages are no higher than the market rate, they may pay to bring candidates home,” Shalynn notes. “Also, candidates with a stable CV are more kindly looked upon. It bodes well if they have stayed for five years in their current job. For mid-level positions, if a candidate has had just two or three jobs, and a senior candidate who has had three or four, then banks are more likely to invest in them for the future.”
While the compliance and technology areas are seeing growth, elsewhere in banking sectors things are quite slow, particularly as we enter 2017’s final quarter. “Because it is year-end, banks are trying to push any funding forward into the next financial year. But in the longer term I don’t think the banking industry is as competitive as it was previously,” Lynne explains. “With that said, if you have the skillsets required in technology and compliance, then it is a good time to exploit the market”