For Recruiters

Flexy is sexy (if not easy) for Asia's bankers

A new survey suggests offering a flexible work/life balance is the crucial determinant of finance employers' allure.

Almost 400 of 1,000 respondents said flexibility was the thing they looked for most in an employer - against only 220 who said they looked for career progression.

Pan Zai Xian, manager of financial services at Robert Walters in Singapore, which conducted the survey, says Singapore's financial services firms are doing their best to accommodate employees' flexible working requests.

"The trend has been driven mainly by international firms, which then permeates into the local market," he explains. "Often, HR departments are keen to follow successful trends from other developed centres."

However, in a demanding, results-orientated industry like banking, Pan admits flexibility can be hard to come by. This is especially so for positions where there is a shortage of qualified candidates. "It is difficult in reality to offer flexible working hours if that is going to impact the status quo of the business."

Recruiters say women are more likely to land flexible roles than men - working mothers can sometimes negotiate part time positions in less senior roles, but pay tends to come at a discount rather than pro-rated.

Meanwhile, old-fashioned thinking still applies to male bankers. "Some employers might be sceptical and view this as a lack of ambition," says Pan.

Who might they be, we wonder?

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