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Pay rises still rampant in Singapore finance sector

Chronic talent shortages in wealth management and technology mean that candidates in these job sectors in Singapore routinely receive 30%-plus pay rises, according to recruiters who attended a recent eFinancialCareers round table.

This level of pay increment applies no matter which financial institution they’re joining, because the labour market is particularly tight in tech and private banking, with the supply of candidates failing to match the demand for talent. Private banks, including Barclays, are hiring relationship managers, albeit not as heavily as last year. Firms such as DBS, Citi and Standard Chartered have an insatiable appetite for developers and other tech professionals, with pay rises further inflated by competition from tech companies.

For other roles in the finance sector in Singapore, while pay-inflation for new joiners is still high in historical terms, different firms are responding to it in different ways.

Some are still “almost paying anything” to secure good talent, while others have capped salary rises to around 20% this year to avoid new recruits earning substantially more than current staff, a recruiter told the round table.

“As recruiters we’re having to navigate both worlds at the moment,” said the round table delegate, who like his counterparts asked not to be named in this article.

Meanwhile, in a sure sign that the Asian job market remains weighted in favour of candidates, at least for now, the recruiters said they are still plagued by counter offers.

One headhunter said a candidate recently received a 40% counter – the largest he’s come across in his long career.

Another said people are being “begged to stay”, for example with regional roles, additional portfolios, accelerated career trajectories, and more responsibilities.

But are candidates actually accepting counters? The round table delegates said a significant minority are.

A third attendee, for example, said she lost two Singapore-based candidates to counter offers in June alone. “It’s not really about the base salary. It’s now got really common for counters to include a crazy amount of stock to lock people in. Organisations are being very aggressive in retaining people,” she said.

Photo by Ankush Minda on Unsplash

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AUTHORSimon Mortlock Content Manager

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