The job market in the Singapore banking sector could be defined by recruitment rather than redundancies next year, a new report from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) suggests.
MAS has some good news for finance professionals worried that the emergence of the Omicron Covid variant could lead to layoffs as banks cut back to protect their bottom lines.
The results of the 2021 industry-wide stress test showed that banks in Singapore would remain resilient if a resurgence in infections due to more virulent mutated virus strains puts the global recovery on hold, according to MAS. Banks would be able to meet their clients’ credit needs in an adverse scenario, even as they continue to adhere to prudent provisioning practices, said MAS.
In theory at least, this makes it less likely that banks in the Republic will need to resort to job cuts should the economy take an unexpected hit next year. MAS notes, however, that parts of the corporate sector look more vulnerable to the virus.
The finance industry has already proven resilient to redundancies. As we noted last week, financial services has added headcount even as layoffs have ravaged other areas of the economy during the pandemic, according to the Ministry of Trade and Industry. Singapore has suffered unprecedented employment losses since the outset of Covid-19, with the total number of people employed falling by a cumulative 196,400 by the third quarter of this year. But in the “finance and insurance” sector employment jumped 5,700 from Q4 2019 to Q3 2021.
Meanwhile, as 2021 draws to a close, the consensus from finance and tech recruiters in Singapore is that hiring levels will remain strong and job cuts will remain rare next year. However, skill shortages have now become so extreme that the city state will likely need to loosen restrictions on foreign talent sometime in 2022, meaning that pay rises for local jobseekers may eventually start falling.
“We’re already seeing foreign talent moving back into Singapore, but in small numbers, and clients are starting to ask for them again – not necessarily in banking but in fintech and crypto,” said a Singapore recruiter who attended a recent eFinancialCareers round table for staffing firms. “Local candidates won’t have as many job choices when the borders reopen more. Right now, everyone is asking for 40% or 50% pay increments; it’s not sustainable,” said another round table delegate.
Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash
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