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Singapore needs more nerds: Why banks just can’t stop hiring in finance tech

Simon Mortlock

news.efinancialcareers.sg

6 December 2010

There seems to be no end in sight to Singapore’s finance tech employment boom, with integration, upgrading and hubbing all contributing to high demand for staff this year and next.

Standard Chartered – followed by Credit Suisse and RBS – is leading the charge for candidates, but many other retail and investment banks are also recruiting.

“Factors contributing to an ever-increasing demand include: integration projects as a result of recent M&A activity amongst banks; upgrading of legacy systems; rising consumer expectations for mobile banking; and development of trading platforms to meet more sophisticated investor needs,” explains Arran Huddleston, general manager, Randstad.

Growing product demand from other countries in the region, such as Malaysia and India, has meant that Singapore, as Asia’s IT hub, has had to improve its product offerings and boost its finance tech headcount, comments Tristan Amin, senior manager, Greythorn Singapore.

As a result, job seekers are becoming more confident. “Candidates have high, and in many cases unrealistic, salary expectations, asking for 25 per cent or more. This is driving up wage pressures,” says Amin.

Sought-after jobs include developers for trading platforms, IT security professionals, and project managers for system-integration and mobile projects, says Huddleston.

Singapore especially lacks people who can bridge the gap between technology and the business, adds Amin. The ability to communicate well with senior decision makers will therefore give your career a boost in the current employment market.

So are banks looking overseas for their techies? Most are, but mainly at AVP-level and above. Huddleston says for niche roles banks often recruit from India.

Amin adds that the UK and Australia are also important hunting grounds “largely because they are mature markets and the quality of skills there is high and in large supply. Furthermore, the tax advantages of Singapore compared with the UK or Australia make it an attractive professional opportunity,” he adds.

And what does 2011 have in store? Amin reckons hiring will be just as hectic as this year. “Many global projects are being shifted to Singapore and programmes of work are large scale, long term and complex, which creates the need for experienced candidates to join the banks.”

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