Singapore cryptos cut hiring as “crypto winter” approaches
Singapore crypto firms may still be hiring heavily in compliance, but last month’s digital asset wipe-out has cooled the Republic’s once red-hot cryptocurrency job market, just as it has in the rest of the world.
Crypto’s latest crash has led to major US and global crypto exchanges and platforms like Coinbase, Gemini and Rain Financial freezing hiring or laying off non-essential employees altogether. Coinbase, which began scaling back its recruitment activities in mid-May, has even retracted numerous job offers that had already been accepted.
In Singapore, companies and investors remain cautious and continue to monitor the market closely, according to Rumi Mohd, a senior manager at Randstad Singapore. “While the crypto industry in Singapore is still very vibrant, hiring activities are currently limited to critical and replacement positions,” says Mohd, who hires widely for the local digital asset and decentralised finance space.
Most crypto firms are also expecting new and more structured compliance processes to be introduced “in the near future”, which they hope will provide some form protection for investors and companies, he adds.
Singapore crypto and blockchain employers – who were already experiencing high turnover rates even prior to recent events, partly because their jobs often lack the structure of those in banking – could also face new challenges with retaining talent.
While some people had no qualms leaving their banking jobs for the huge salaries that crypto firms were willing to throw at them, it remains to be seen how much longer fat pay cheques can keep them happy in a still-nascent sector that is largely viewed as being predicated more on hype than on sound investment fundamentals.
“On its own, the crypto industry is hype-based and people are always following the next most exciting project or coin to own or invest in,” says Mohd. “Those who are still passionate about crypto will continue to venture new possibilities and be the leading voice of the industry.”
Others, particularly “those who have lost significant investments during the recent event”, may prefer to seek more stable jobs with traditional financial services institutions or other fintech firms in payments or cards.
Nevertheless, Mohd thinks the current volatility, or “crypto winter” which some are referring to it as, is just par for the course, as it is “not a new or unexpected phenomenon to crypto firms in Singapore”.
He believes well-prepared firms would already have had contingency plans in place, in anticipation of such sudden shifts and scenarios. According to Mohd, the tumbling of the coins “has motivated more companies to double-down on their internal capabilities, with many shifting their focus on hiring for critical positions such as compliance, engineering and blockchain developers”.
The problem, in fact, lies with jobseekers, who are becoming “more selective when choosing an employer to work for as they want the assurance that the firm has the capabilities to float through the next ‘crypto winter’ cycle”, says Mohd.