Many people want to enter the financial industry but don’t know how to secure their dream role. Even though everyone should research the job market, many people fail to do so – or even know how to.
To understand the labour market, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) conducts a regular manpower survey. The data, which is no longer shared publicly, only includes employees – self-employed insurance agents and remisiers, for example, are excluded.
While many people want to be in glamorous areas such as corporate finance, fund management, trading and venture capital, these jobs only account for about 1 to 2 per cent of the total financial workforce. By contrast, fundamental functions like accounting and IT make up about a third of it.
Many finance professionals wind up in areas like consumer, private and corporate banking. It is therefore unsurprising that many who pursue qualifications like CFA, MBA and Masters of Finance do not end up in their dream jobs.
Given the dearth of glamorous positions in Singapore, talented people might be better off venturing overseas, particularly to emerging markets. These countries are seeking candidates to develop and grow their financial industry and economy. In fact, an overseas stint can accelerate your career. To this end, MAS is working with the industry to give Singaporeans greater regional and international exposure.
Jobs that are somewhat hot
However, if you are only looking for financial jobs in Singapore, here’s where the demand is:
In any business, revenue generators are sought after in good times, and more so in bad times, to keep businesses and jobs safe. As such, they can keep their jobs and earn high income if they perform.
The wealth management segment has been hiring aggressively for a long time because Singapore (and Asia) has an increasing amount of rich people (including non-Singaporeans). Besides, the sector also experiences high turnover. Many relationship managers either leave banks because they cannot meet their sales targets, or do their job so well that they decide to strike it out on their own as independent financial advisers.
Corporate banking is another area which is expected to grow due to increased global trade and continued demand from start-up companies. In particular, many Asian firms are forging ahead, while Western banks are in retreat mode.
General insurance is also expected to grow due to increasing personal and corporate wealth in Singapore and Asia. Recent natural catastrophes like floods, earthquakes and tsunamis in the region have all reinforced the need for protection.
Support staff are also in demand in areas like IT, accounting, compliance, risk management and customer service. While these people are not revenue generators, some have successfully used back-office functions to leapfrog into front-office areas like enterprise banking, treasury and fund management.
Anthony Chia has worked in various areas of banking and finance in Singapore. The views expressed are his and not those of eFinancialCareers.
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