Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Job seekers in financial services enjoy bull market

Are you working in any of these industries - banking, accounting, financial services and sales and marketing? Well, good luck and good times ahead….

Central Business District and Boat Quay, Singapore

Central Business District and Boat Quay, Singapore

IT'S still a bull market for those seeking mid- to higher-level executive positions in banking, accounting, financial services and sales and marketing in Singapore.

Despite lingering global economic uncertainty, employers are raising salaries by up to 15 per cent on average as the economy in Singapore and the region continues to recover and hiring activity picks up amid a shortage of such talent here, according to specialist recruitment firm Ambition Singapore.

Financial services and banking institutions struggle with hiring locally for vice-president levels and above because Singapore is a relatively young market, Ambition said in a third- quarter assessment of local hiring trends released yesterday.

'But that will change over the next five years as local candidates accumulate more years of banking experience and can step into those positions,' it said.

Compared with Australia, Europe and the US, Singapore also has a smaller pool of talent for digital online media, online advertising and content, online broadcast networking and Internet banking, forcing recruiters here to look overseas, it said.

With job numbers climbing by an average of 67 per cent year on year to their highest level since 2007, attrition rates have risen as more job seekers are now looking for career growth opportunities instead of being motivated by the fears of pending layoffs a year ago, it said.

'We've gone back to a market that's candidate- short,' said Paul Endacott, Ambition's managing director. 'But we're not reverting to the 30 per cent plus salary increments, as pre the global financial crisis.'

That's because companies don't feel they have to offer 'the bells and whistles' to attract foreign talent given that challenging job markets in the US and Europe have driven overseas applications to Singapore up by about 30 per cent this year from a year ago.

'Employers aren't throwing money at candidates to get them on board. Post-crisis, there is a lot more scrutiny in terms of cost controls. They want to hire the right people that will add value from Day One, which means the hiring process has gotten longer and more rigorous,' he said.

On average, banks are offering increments of between 12 and 15 per cent, while within commercial sector organizations, employers are offering increments of between 8 and 12 per cent, he said.

'A lot of expat pay packages have moved to localized packages,' Mr Endacott said.

Many banks, especially those with global headquarters in the US or Europe, are still averse to offering sign-on bonuses and hiring is expected to cool off in Singapore in the second half as they await results before investing further in recruitment. That means positions at those levels will be increasingly difficult to hire for in the fourth quarter.

source: The Business Times

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