Roboadvisor StashAway is experiencing a surge in job applications as it hires in Singapore, despite chronic shortages of tech talent in the Republic.
StashAway clocked up a 99.6% increase in job applications from 2020 to 2021, says CEO and co-founder Michele Ferrario. Fintech has become a more mainstream career option in Singapore, driving the rise in candidate interest, he adds.
“People are excited to jump on board a rocket ship,” says the CEO, pointing to StashAway’s recent growth. The startup in April announced a US$25m Series D round to accelerate the development of its investment products and features, and expand its engineering team. StashAway offers full-time employees stock options, and the benefits of these options “started to materialise recently when we offered to buy back up to S$4m in stock options from our employees as part of our Series D funding round”, says Ferrario.
Fifteen of the 29 positions StashAway is looking to fill are in its Singapore headquarters – representing a nearly 17% increase in headcount. The other 14 roles are for its offices in Hong Kong, Malaysia, and the United Arab Emirates. The fintech startup now employs over 160 staff.
StashAway’s vacancies are mainly in tech, product and marketing, with vacancies including frontend, backend and full stack engineers, product designer, software architect, client services executive, and chief product officer.
When StashAway launched in 2016 it poached talent from financial institutions, including Goldman Sachs. Ferrario says he is still open to hiring from large banks. Ferrario himself was formerly an investment manager at Milan-based private equity fund Synergo Capital, while co-founder Freddy Lim’s resume includes stints at Nomura, Citi, and Morgan Stanley.
StashAway’s hires also include people who previously worked at small startups, or who joined well-known startups in their early stages of growth. It has recruited from management consulting firms, too.
The CEO says candidates applying for StashAway’s tech roles will need to display “a mindset that understands the impact of our actions and inactions on our clients”. Technical skills include deep experience in Kotlin, Scala, Python, or Ruby, and experience developing distributed systems or building larger, mission-critical applications from scratch, including medical applications and trading platforms.
Despite the recent surge in application numbers, Ferrario admits it is becoming tougher to hire in Singapore due to increased competition for talent across the market. Tech professionals in particular are in short supply as demand has accelerated in recent years, driven in part by Covid-triggered digitalisation.
“There is demand from not just your big, scaling startups, but also the larger tech companies that have their regional headquarters in Singapore. The government has also been active on hiring tech talent as well,” says Ferrario. “We’re starting to see a larger gap between the supply and demand for these roles, and it’s more difficult to find quality and qualified candidates with the right skill sets in Singapore now.”
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