Hiring in Commerce Finance: Firms willing to pay premium for analytical skills and collaborative spirit​

Zen Soh, Manager of Commerce Finance at Robert Walters Singapore

In 2022, digital transformation brought massive change to the Commerce Finance space, with teams sizing down as automation took over transactional and mundane analytical tasks. Firms are now willing to pay a slight premium for talents who showcase excellent business stakeholder management and predictive data analytics skill sets. 

“Faced with the need to deliver short to medium-term results, companies are increasingly hiring skilled, experienced candidates who can hit the ground running fast, and less so for a candidate’s potential,” shares Zen Soh, Manager of Commerce Finance at Robert Walters Singapore. 

On a brighter note, Singapore remains an attractive hub for many firms looking to expand and grow into the region. For that reason, Zen notes, there are still plenty of opportunities on the market for promising candidates.

Read on to find out more about Zen’s expectations of the labour market and hiring trends for Commerce and Finance professionals in 2023, with an emphasis on permanent roles.

Hire with potential in mind 

“Due to the shortage of finance professionals with data analytics skills sets, we’ve seen a handful of companies who are collaborating with learning institutes to equip their new employees with the necessary skills sets for the role,” says Zen. She advises more firms to do the same and hire based on potential. 

Zen also highlights that employers are placing greater emphasis on staff retention, with an added importance on employer branding to appeal more to existing and potential hires. Firms will also look into streamlining work processes, so it is expected that teams will become leaner and more productive.  

More than just technical skills

Finance professionals that can showcase their ability to understand different perspectives of the business and communicate well with various functions will be in strong demand. Also valued are talents who can go beyond historical data, and use predictive data skill sets to generate meaningful insights that drive sound business decisions. 

Zen says, “Strong business partnering skill sets is a must. Be the bridge between business leaders and the shared services. Talents who are not afraid to take on new finance projects that require collaboration with various departments will be highly sought after.”

She also foresees a heavy demand for roles such as finance business partners, analytics finance project professionals, finance controllers, and regional business controllers.

Quiet quitting a cause for concern 

Findings from Robert Walters’ recent survey around the ‘Great Resignation’ found that in Singapore, 80% of professionals surveyed have considered resigning or switching jobs in the past year. However, 36% did not proceed with the resignation due to uncertainties such as new workplace cultures, role suitability and job security. 

Noting these findings, Zen advises that employers genuinely listen to what their employees are seeking for in their career and help them craft a clear development plan towards their goals. “If they don’t feel that anything has been done and they can’t achieve their goals, they will look elsewhere.”

While salary increments are a main consideration for job moves, it should not be seen as the only deciding factor. Zen notes that it is important for employers to retain talent by offering employees intangible benefits such as flexible work arrangements, a change of job responsibilities and a clear career development plan. She adds that regular appraisals would also help to keep both employees and employers aligned in expectations and goals.

Niche roles may see pay jumps

Standard positions within finance functions can expect a 10% to 13% salary increment. “Niche combination roles such as analytics and finance business partners will be able to demand a slight premium in their pay jump,” Zen points out.  

Focus on staff retention and employer branding to appeal to existing and potential hires.

Significant jump in salaries in key areas

“We expect to see salaries in several areas, such as technology, increase significantly in 2022 due to shortage of talent. Across other areas, we expect to see an average of 10% to 15% jump for candidates moving between jobs,” Monty concludes.

Find out more

Request access to our 2023 Salary Survey to benchmark salaries and to find out more about key hiring trends in the Commerce Finance industry in Singapore.