Barclays’ Singapore techies face tough search for work as 100 jobs go to India

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Barclays offshoring

Tough search

The Singapore tech staff at Barclays whose roles are shifting to India may have to look outside the banking sector to find new work in the city state. And the foreign nationals among their ranks face an even trickier job search as Singapore clamps down on work visas.

Following a round of offshoring from Singapore to India in May, Barclays confirmed this week that it will relocate more technology jobs by the end of the year in order to lower costs.

The firm has not revealed exact numbers, but a source at the bank tell us that “about 100” local roles are affected.

The jobs being offshored to India – Barclays employs some 5,000 people in the city of Pune – support the bank’s global operations. “The IT and ops roles still based in Singapore are generally those that just look after the Asia business,” says the source.

A spokesperson for Barclays in Singapore says the firm is “working closely” with affected staff to ensure they are “supported throughout the process”.

Our source adds: “The bank is making a lot of effort to find jobs for those whose roles are being offshored. So for some people offshoring could be an opportunity to get a better position internally.”

The vast majority of the 100 employees are unlikely to remain at Barclays, however, and they face a challenging external job market in Singapore.

The Republic may be reinventing itself as a hotbed for fintech innovation, but these Barclays roles are primarily in lower-end support functions. Other banks are offshoring similar jobs, so there are already plenty of candidates in the market.

“In banking, your best bets in IT are at Stan Chart, DBS and OCBC, but it’s tough because many people are available for work at the moment,” says Vince Natteri, managing director at IT recruitment agency Pinpoint Asia.

Recruiters say overseas nationals are among those whose roles are being cut in Singapore.

Unless they apply for jobs paying more than S$144k a year (a rare salary at a junior level), they will be affected by a 2014 Singapore law restricting employment passes for foreigners. “Getting a new EP could be a challenge,” says Farida Charania, Asia Pacific CEO of search firm Nastrac Group in Singapore.

Job options if you're leaving Barclays 

Barclays IT employees should consider jobs outside of banking, say recruiters. “For example, there are opportunities in insurance and professional services for banking tech people, particularly in project management and analytics,” says Ben Batten, Singapore managing director at recruiters Volt.

“You could also consider moving to Malaysia,” says Natteri. “It’s close and lots of companies are building offshore development centres there. The cost of living is lower, but so are the salaries.”

Contract IT positions – which are growing in popularity in Singapore – are another alternative, in both the corporate and finance sectors.

“If you can pick up a contract role, you can afford to be less concerned about the type of role or even the pay,” says a recruiter at a US bank in Singapore. “And they have the habit of turning into permanent jobs.”

Image credit: Pedro Antonio Salaverr Calahorra, Getty

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