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The hottest job in Singapore banking during Covid-19. And how much you’ll get paid to do it

There are not many Singapore banking jobs that have become more sought after during the Covid-19 pandemic – but cyber security is one of them.

Rising demand for cyber security professionals has become an industry-wide trend since February as customers increase their use of banks’ digital platforms and staff work from home on potentially less secure systems, says Emily Tan, executive director of financial services at Kerry Consulting in Singapore.

In a report on the impact of Covid-19 on the banking sector, McKinsey says the pandemic has forced Asian banks to “significantly accelerate their shift to digital channels”. DBS said in its Q1 earnings presentation last week that it has boosted its cyber security frameworks, creating “additional layered controls to block or mitigate attacks”. As remote working kicked in from early February, DBS experienced a staggering 88-fold year-on-year increase in VPN usage in the first quarter. 

There was also a “significant uplift in digital activity” in Q1 – total turnover on the bank’s eFX Deal system was up 23% year-on-year, and DBS rolled out new digital products to meet demand from customers who can no longer visit branches during the pandemic. Similarly, Wee Ee Cheong, UOB deputy chairman and chief executive officer, said yesterday that his firm’s digital banking services have become “essential tools” as more customers stay home.

But as digital usage rises rapidly and unexpectedly in early 2020, so too does the potential for digital platforms to be attacked. Cyber security professionals are therefore working harder than ever at their current banks, and are in high demand if they want to move to a competitor.

Cyber security is so crucial to banks’ operations right now that hiring continues apace, even as recruitment across the banking sector declines because of the impact of Covid-19. In mid-April, when we reviewed the Singapore-based vacancies that had survived Standard Chartered’s hiring freeze, we found that more than half of them had a security focus.

This rising demand is in addition to long-standing talent shortages in cyber security in Singapore, which means candidates can still expect reasonable pay rises (15% or more), even during the pandemic.

How much will you get paid in a cyber security job in Singapore? The 2020 salary survey from recruiters Morgan McKinley – which examines the four security functions listed below – suggests that AVPs can earn up to S$120k. At VP level in Singapore, your cyber security salary will typically be in the S$120k to S$240k range, while pay for directors can potentially exceed S$300k.

Photo by Liam Tucker on Unsplash

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AUTHORSimon Mortlock Content Manager

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