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Why Q3 could be a good time to get a banking job in Singapore

If you’re considering looking for a banking job in Singapore in the third quater, but fear moving amid the pandemic, the new annual report from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) may help spur you into action.

MAS estimates that the financial services sector grew by about 6% in the first half of this year, its managing director Ravi Menon said at a briefing on the report. In 2020, the industry expanded by 5.1% even as the overall economy contracted.

Fortunately for job seekers outside of hot fields like technology and wealth management, Menon said growth in 2020 was “broad-based across the financial services sector” and that he expects the industry to “continue to create good jobs this year as well”.

“The banking industry has been supported by strong fee income growth. The insurance industry expanded strongly on the back of robust demand for single-premium life insurance products,” he added. Meanwhile, assets under management in Singapore grew by 17% year-on-year, to S$4.7 trillion as at end-2020, driven by “strong inflows into traditional and alternative investment strategies as well as valuation gains across major asset markets”.

Investments in fintech firms based in Singapore reached a record S$1.4bn in 2020, an increase of more than 30% from 2019. In the first quarter of this year, fintechs in the Republic raised more than S$650m. “The payments industry grew significantly as adoption of e-payments gained traction with businesses and individuals moving towards online transactions,” added Menon.

As we have already reported, the financial services sector generated 2,500 net jobs in 2020. “Financial institutions expect to create about 6,500 new hiring opportunities this year, with strong demand in areas such as technology, wealth management, corporate banking, and insurance,” said Menon in his recent speech.

He added that the sector has exceeded the employment targets set by the Industry Transformation Map (ITM) for 2016 to 2020. Financial services firms added an average of 4,700 net jobs per annum during this period, above the target of 4,000. MAS has started reviewing the ITM employment targets for the next five years.

Menon also provided some hints about the skills that will enable Singapore to remain competitive in the coming decade. “Technology will reshape financial services in the next 10 years, much more profoundly than it has in the last five years. Sustainability will become an increasingly central focus for financial services as the world strives towards a low-carbon future. Jobs in financial services will transform, with growing skills requirements across multiple domains,” he said.

While MAS is upbeat about the finance sector’s short and long-term prospects, this optimism hasn’t necessarily filtered through to all job seekers in banking. “Outside of technology, I’m still talking to candidates who are reluctant to move during Covid, even though the banking industry here is generally weathering the storm well, and hiring has picked up a lot on last year,” says a finance recruiter. “People are still asking more questions around job stability than they were pre-pandemic, and are asking for higher pay rises as a risk premium for moving,” she adds.

Photo by Victor Garcia on Unsplash

Have a confidential story, tip, or comment you’d like to share? Email: or Telegram: @simonmortlock. You can also follow me on LinkedIn.

AUTHORSimon Mortlock Content Manager

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