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Singaporeans demand 50% pay rises to move to fintech

It’s going to take a huge salary rise to convince Singapore-based technologists to move from banks to fintech firms next quarter.

Q1 is traditionally the time that these moves take place – because banks have paid out bonuses – but the recent volatility in the crypto space has tainted the wider fintech sector in Singapore in the minds of some engineers currently working for big banks.

It will be “very difficult” to attract people from banks over to the fintech side in the opening quarter, says a recruiter in Singapore.

“A lot of them are more cautious in this market. Those who are comfortable in their current roles would rather wait things out until Q3 next year to see if things improve,” she says. “They don’t want to leave only for their new firm to close down a few months later,” she adds, citing the recent collapse of crypto company FTX, which caused Singapore  state investor Temasek to lose $275m.

Other crypto firms have also hit the headlines in Singapore for the wrong reasons. Coinbase is reported to have made redundancies in the country as part of its global layoffs earlier this year. Singapore-based cryptocurrency exchange Bybit is cutting 30% of its staff, according to reports earlier this month.

Still, some banking technologists would move jobs post-bonus, if crypto and other fintech firms are willing to pay them up to 50% more in base pay, says the tech recruiter, adding that these startling increments “are very possible” if the job is directly linked to business growth. The recent poor performance of some cryptos has made equity a less enticing part of their compensation packages.

But opportunities in crypto in Singapore are dwindling even for those who do want to work in the sector. “The tech space has been really active this year. But one thing that did change is who’s hiring. It went from banks to cryptos and then back to banks,” said a Singapore recruiter at an eFinancialCareers round table this month.

“For the first six months of the year we generated about 50% of our revenue from crypto firms and that pretty quickly dried up with the blood bath and the continued nightmare in the crypto markets,” added another headhunter at the event.

Photo by Elena Mozhvilo on Unsplash

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