The new Grab-Singtel digital bank will cast a wide net as it takes on scores of new staff ahead of its expected launch in 2022. While the firm will poach people from brick-and-mortar banks, it also plans to hire from fintech firms, and it will be industry agnostic for some of its technology recruitment in a bid to secure talent in sought-after specialisms like cloud.
“The Grab-Singtel consortium’s immediate priority is to hire talent with expertise in product, data, technology, risk, finance and compliance, among others. The intent is to build up the foundation and ensure we have the right infrastructure to develop a differentiated digital bank experience,” says a spokesperson for the firm, adding that it has “already started assembling a team of experts”.
The company said earlier this month that it is taking on 200 people by the end of next year, with about 10% to 15% of these roles already filled. Earlier this year, it hired Jon Woods from US online bank Varo Bank as head of product. In April, it named Charles Wong, Citibank’s Singapore retail head, as CEO. More recent rank-and-file appointments include senior product manager Andre Hong, a former DBS manager who transferred from Singtel, according to his LinkedIn profile.
Grab-Singtel is continuing to look for three broad sources of talent, says the spokesperson. These include “banking veterans who understand customer needs well and have deep operational expertise within the regulated financial services industry”. Secondly, the fledgling firm is targeting “talent in the fintech sector who can identify pockets of opportunity to bring innovative services to market such as personalised real-time products”.
For technology jobs, it’s also possible to join the digibank without any experience in banking or fintech. The company’s third hiring focus is on “technology leaders who are well versed in cloud technology and data. Technology is crucial to help us pivot quickly in response to customer needs”, says the spokesperson.
The digibank will create more opportunities for Singaporeans to take on technology roles. “We will train and equip them with skills including cyber and information security, data science, user experience and interface design, analytics, and tech engineering,” says the spokesperson.
The virtual bank is currently advertising 13 tech jobs – about half of its overall vacancies – on Grab’s careers website. It’s hiring, for example, a head of data science and analytics. Grab would prefer a someone from a startup or tech company, so candidates from traditional banks won’t have an advantage. The job description suggests that further hiring is on the cards, because the role involves building a “team of data analysts”.
Grab-SingTel wants to hire a lead security engineer, a job that prioritises people from banks. “Prior knowledge and exposure of cyber security in banking is a plus”, according to Grab’s careers website. You can be a good developer in any language to land this position, but you must be willing to work on Go and Python.
Designing and writing with Go is also a core part of the lead backend software engineer job, suggesting that the language will underpin many of the new bank’s platforms. The digibank appears willing to assess developers on their skills in any language in the expectation they can adapt well to Go.
If you land an interview with Grab-Singtel, you are advised to mention financial inclusion as a motivation for wanting to join. “In particular, we welcome talent who believe in our mission of meeting the financial needs of the underserved in Singapore. A diverse talent pool will help us deliver a seamless and elevated banking experience for this target group,” says the spokesperson.
Photo by Karl Pawlowicz on Unsplash
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