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Facebook: the big new threat to banks trying to hire in Singapore

Like Google and Amazon, Facebook has been tapping Singapore’s banking sector for talent this year. In June, for example, Facebook appointed Bikramjit Singh Sadana, Standard Chartered’s head of process and controls for managed investments and discretionary products, as its APAC lead for developer operations management. That same month Heidi Hutchison, a senior intelligence manager at HSBC, joined the social media firm as business integrity manager for policy operations.

These recent recruits are not alone in hailing from banking. About 9% of Singapore-based Facebook employees with LinkedIn profiles have previously worked at a mainstream bank such as Citi, HSBC or DBS. Sandhya Devanathan, Facebook’s country director for Singapore, was a managing director for retail banking and payment products at Stan Chart before taking the reigns at the tech company in 2016.

Facebook now has plenty of room for the former banking professionals. Its swanky new APAC headquarters in Singapore’s Marina One Tower, which opened about two months ago, is almost four times as large as its previous Singapore office. Facebook employs about 1,000 people there but has space for 3,000 as it looks to bolster its headcount.

If moving from finance to Facebook appeals to you, our analysis of the company’s local job postings (see the table below) suggests there are plenty of options in Singapore.

This is particularly the case with technology-related jobs, which make up 27% of all local Facebook openings (when the figures for software engineering, enterprise engineering, data and analytics, design and user experience infrastructure, advertising technology, and security are combined). Moreover, although global tech firms in Singapore do sometimes hire from banks’ middle and front offices, they have recently been keener on poaching developers and engineers.

What type of Singapore-based tech roles is Facebook currently offering that would suit banking technologists? Most obviously, it has a partner engineer vacancy for its payments and finance platform. This calls for at least five years’ experience in “fintech, banking, finance or payment solutions” as well as software development skills in languages such as JavaScript/Node, PHP, Objective-C, Java, C++, .NET, Python, and Ruby. The catch? Fluency in Bahasa Indonesia is a must.

If you want to work in an expanding high-profile team, try business integrity (BI), which is responsible for keeping people and businesses safe from bad players on Facebook. Needless to say, this is a challenging gig, given the various scandals that have plagued the company over the past two years. In Singapore right now, BI wants to hire an internal solutions engineer – who boasts technical skills such as PHP, Hack, Haskell, Haxl, JavaScript and React – to work on new products. Because of the sheer size of the problems faced by BI, the team is understood to need “really talented engineers”.

Facebook in Singapore is also recruiting at the junior end. Its developer support engineer vacancy demands only one year’s experience as well as working knowledge of its platform API and expertise in developing for mobile. If you’re a young programmer at a bank, moving to this role will see you supporting “hundreds of thousands of developers around the world” through machine learning and AI tools across Facebook, Messenger and Instagram.

Banks in Singapore believe Facebook, Google and Amazon pose a serious threat to their technology recruitment and retention plans, especially given the tight domestic labour market and government restrictions on work visas. Local banking technologists now have the option of joining US tech giants located right on their door steps as headcounts rise and offices come to resemble those in Silicon Valley.

“We can’t put slides in offices like a tech firm can,” an in-house recruiter from a bank told a recent eFinancialCareers discussion forum. Facebook doesn’t have slides in Marina One either, but it does have vending machines for electronic gadgets, a giant Instagram wall, and a poster-design work room.

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Image credit: coffeekai, Getty

AUTHORSimon Mortlock Content Manager

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