3 In-Demand Banking and Finance Positions in 2022
Did you know that Singapore is home to 111 commercial banks and over 1,400 fintech firms? In the past few decades, Singapore has been striving to establish herself as the regional hub for banking and financial services. The Singapore government views the banking industry not only as a means which facilitates the development of other major industries, but also as a growth industry in its own right.
Even the Covid-19 pandemic has not slowed down the growth of the financial sector, which grew by an annual average of 7.2% during 2020 and 2021. This is four times faster than the growth of the economy as a whole!
Such meteoric growth invariably means that many more jobs are created. In the MAS-IBF Employment Outlook Survey 2022, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) reports that there will be more than 9,400 new hiring opportunities for permanent roles in the financial sector in 2022. More than 3,000 jobs are estimated to be in technology.
In this article, we will feature three positions that are currently in hot demand within the banking and financial services industry: cybersecurity specialists, ESG experts, and risk management professionals.
In this technological era, banks are feeling the pressure to bolster their defences against cyber crime. The widespread digitisation of banking services brings about the increased threat of cyber crime. There is almost a 30% year-on-year increase in the average number of security breaches in organisations. Not only are these cyber attacks becoming more frequent, they are more sophisticated and complex in nature.
This pressure on banks is only intensified by stricter legislation in the form of the Financial Services and Markets Bill 2022. MAS will impose higher penalties on financial institutions for cyber attacks causing disruption to essential services—up to $1 million for every breach of a technology risk management requirement.
Not surprisingly, there is a hiring spree for cybersecurity specialists. Big banks such as Citi, Standard Chartered, DBS, OCBC and UOB continue to actively hire in cybersecurity. These financial institutions are strengthening their cybersecurity teams in order to secure critical infrastructure—and safeguard against both internal and external data thefts. Demand for cybersecurity specialists is outstripping supply to the extent that these professionals can command pay raises of at least 30% when shifting companies.
Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Experts
Besides technology, sustainability is another key driving force which shapes the direction of the financial sector. In his Green Horizon Summit speech, MAS Managing Director Ravi Menon emphasised Singapore’s commitment “to support Asia’s transition through its Green Finance Action Plan”. MAS is doing its part by “actively promoting a strong green finance ecosystem in Singapore”.
Coupled with the Singapore government’s push for greater compliance with international environmental and sustainability guidelines, climate-based sustainability is also good for business. ESG policies are tied to the longevity and success of financial companies, with leading asset managers reporting that their ESG portfolios had outperformed their non-ESG counterparts since 2020.
As such, financial institutions are actively hiring for ESG roles in 2022. Major banks like UOB, Standard Chartered, and BNP Paribas have been announcing key senior ESG appointments since January. These ESG personnel are expected to articulate, develop and execute corporate sustainability strategies in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
To overcome talent shortages in this area, banks have roped in ESG banking experts based overseas. For instance, Citi relocated Raphael Erasmus from London to Singapore as its head of sustainability and corporate transitions for Asia Pacific. Another creative solution that banks have resorted to is by transferring Singapore-based employees into ESG positions after rigorous in-house training.
Risk Management Professionals
Risk management has always been a part of traditional finance. More than a decade after the 2008 financial crisis revealed the fragility of the global economic climate, banks are nonetheless laser-focussed on minimising their risk.
Banks inevitably face a myriad of risks—market risk, credit risk, operational risk, liquidity risk and so on. The aim of risk management practices in this industry is to manage their exposure to losses and protect the value of their assets.
Furthermore in this digital economy, the framework for risk management and analysis is evolving alongside the fast-changing fintech landscape. Financial institutions will thus be driven to hire professionals who are up to date with the latest risk management principles and tools for assessment. It is reported that risk management roles comprise 6.1% of jobs in Singapore’s financial services sector.
With the banking and finance services industry in Singapore growing by leaps and bounds, countless job opportunities are created. Some popular roles include but are not limited to cybersecurity specialists, ESG experts, and risk management professionals. We will cover more positions in a subsequent article, so stay tuned!