In this article, Workipedia by MyCareersFuture hears from Robert Walters Singapore’s experts – Senior Manager Glen Chua and Manager Priya Gupta – on their expectations of the labour market for Banking and Financial Services professionals in 2023.
Read on to learn more about Glen and Priya’s take on the sector’s hiring and salary trends in the coming year, the most sought-after skillsets by employers, and how employers can improve employee retention.
Banking & Financial Services sector: 2022 review, 2023 forecast and trends
Candidates take the driver’s seat in 2023 hiring activities
Glen: A candidate-driven market and workplace wellness are two key trends that emerged in 2022. Candidates may have prioritised job security during the pandemic, but attitudes have shifted two years on. As the economy began recovering from the pandemic, jobs have skyrocketed. Right now, with more jobs to be filled than there are talented candidates to fill them, there is a surge of companies trying to hire. Candidates now have the upper hand: they are more willing to move out of a current role to explore a new one and place more emphasis on their personal well-being, employee benefits and hybrid work options when considering their next move.
Risk, Compliance, Finance and Audit and Operations on the rise in Banking and Financial Services
Priya: There’s been a 76% increase in vacancies within the banking and financial services sector from 2020 to 2022. Although some roles in operations and finance were offshored, regional roles and leadership roles were still sought after in Singapore.
Talent is in short supply even with inflows from the big “Hong Kong exit” – the large migration of talents from Hong Kong to Singapore for most large investment banks, fund managers, asset managers and private equity firms. Organisations also chose to set up new businesses and satellite offices, or simply shift certain functions to Singapore – bolstering Singapore’s position as a top financial hub. In our core verticals of risk, compliance, operations, and finance and audit, teams have been migrated from Hong Kong to Singapore. Alternatively, attrition in Hong Kong will be replaced in Singapore. Now that the borders have re-opened in Hong Kong, firms are developing a new approach to looking at talents in Singapore and Hong Kong simultaneously so that they get the flexibility to hire the best talents.
With talent supply particularly limited in our core markets, companies have offered higher increments to candidates. Candidates were offered multiple roles and could secure new jobs quickly, particularly in niche markets like quantitative risk or valuation. In investment compliance or compliance within fund management, we saw salary increments of over 30%. Investment banks have introduced new flexible ways of working as compensation alone is not enough to attract candidates. More candidates also prioritised quality of life, which includes fewer late-night calls to align to another time zone.
Roles and skillsets employers are hiring for in 2023
Stronger emphasis on soft skills
Glen: In 2023, soft skills will have a larger influence on hiring decisions. The prevalence of hybrid work means that employers are seeking out candidates who can be adaptable, have good work ethics, and are strong in soft skills such as communication, innovation, collaboration and time management.
Other skillsets that will see strong demand include transaction monitoring and testing, business, and operational risk management and ESG.
Within the Banking and Financial Services space, some of the hottest jobs include banking compliance-related roles focusing on regulatory projects, operational and business risk roles and AML and fraud risk roles. ESG roles are also increasing in demand.
Given economic uncertainties globally, employers are also expected to have more contract roles.
Analytics and technical skillsets in demand
Priya: Roles in compliance data analytics, ESG risk, investment operations, and finance manager funds or private equity will see strong demand in 2023. Finance managers with a private equity background are one example of a highly sought-after role.
Accordingly, 2023’s in-demand skillsets fall adjacent to or within the scope of these roles. For instance, auditors with strong data analytics skills will be at an advantage, as will candidates who can perform risk analytics or modelling in areas like treasury IRRBB analytics.
Other prized skillsets and domain expertise include credit risk hedge funds and NBFI, valuation of complex derivatives instruments, financial crime – specifically anti-bribery, sanctions and AML/CFT – and compliance with investigations, fraud risk, loan operations, commodities, and middle office experience for structured credit products.
ESG and digital open up new frontiers
Priya: Digitisation, digital banks and new technologies will play a big role in the hiring market in 2023.
Environmental, social and governance (ESG) will also be more prevalent. Expect ESG to become a vertical of its own pertaining to all different functions – think ESG risk, compliance or audit, for instance.
Regulatory bodies will create more new hybrid roles – like compliance data analytics – as they become more data-driven.
Employers need to understand employees’ motivations
Priya: Perspectives have changed in the post-COVID workplace – work-life balance is now more of a critical factor, and salary alone is no longer the deciding factor. Firms that understand their employees’ concerns and motivations will fare better at retention. Companies should provide expanded benefits such as mental health coverage, flexible work arrangements and upskilling opportunities in other specialisations.
On the remuneration front, some firms took pre-emptive measures like tactically pitching salary increments as high as 20% for existing employees. Some candidates with lengthy tenures have found that they are on lower salaries than peers who have job hopped more and may have less depth and knowledge. Reward employees early – not after they have resigned – to convey that the business values loyalty.
Nevertheless, retaining an employee by increasing their salary may only be a stopgap if their motivation for leaving is department instability. Consider having a channel for anonymous feedback and bottom-to-up appraisals, as this provides employees with a sense of importance and belonging.
Lastly, companies can build a positive public profile for prospective candidates through ways such as conducting corporate social responsibility events.
This article is contributed by Robert Walters Singapore.