The hiring landscape for Banking & Financial Services professionals taking up contract roles has shifted markedly since the post-pandemic boom in 2022. As Goh ShiHua, Senior Consultant at Robert Walters Singapore, points out, with an impending recession looming ahead, businesses have moved more cautiously and frozen their budgets and headcount, resulting in more candidates than there are jobs available.
“We’ve observed that businesses have focused more on replacing revenue generating, front-office positions, and cutting back on middle and back-office functions,” says ShiHua. “Some employees have had to double hat and step in for roles which have not been filled. This is a tricky situation that can lead to burnout and higher turnover rates.”
Remote work arrangements that were put in place during the pandemic have also evolved over the past year into hybrid work arrangements – a trend that will have implications for hiring in the year ahead.
Read on to find out more about Shi Hua's expectations of the labour market and hiring trends for Singapore’s Banking & Financial Services professionals in 2024, with an emphasis on contract roles.
“Now that businesses are more fixated on cost cutting and achieving cost efficiency, they would rather delay their hiring than bring onboard a candidate that isn’t a perfect fit,” ShiHua reveals. “In 2024, we can expect to see that companies will continue to focus on securing candidates who are the right cultural fit, instead of those who simply have the necessary technical skillsets.”
Part of that cultural fit also includes candidates who are satisfied with hybrid work arrangements. ShiHua explains that majority of companies have shifted from fully remote to hybrid work arrangements as hiring managers have stated they appreciate in-person facetime. Many are also firm in their belief that traditional work arrangements help increase productivity and cohesiveness across their teams. This is clear even from as early on as the hiring process, with more hiring managers opting for face-to-face interviews so they can better assess a candidate’s cultural, and personality fit.
Jobseekers may do well to note that businesses will place a stronger emphasis on soft skills and cultural fits when assessing prospective hires. Some of such prized skillsets and personality traits include adaptability, great stakeholder management and communication skills, and putting forth a sociable and presentable front. There is more attention placed on creating a diverse workforce, so companies will also keep diversity and inclusion in mind in their hiring decisions.
Due to the lack of hiring budgets, companies have also increasingly taken the approach of hiring candidates on contract to cover project-based jobs – such as regulatory, migration or automation projects – before converting them to full-time positions.
Within the industry, positions in regulatory compliance (for AML and fraud), operational and business continuity, and ESG will see healthy demand in 2024.
“The opportunity cost of replacing an employee is definitely higher than retaining them, so companies should definitely look at what they can do in this area,” ShiHua recommends.
Competitive compensation and benefits, of course, are still one of the most important factors when it comes to talent attraction and retention, but the types of benefits offered can really make a difference.
Some of the benefits that candidates are drawn to include greater work-life balance and remote work options. ShiHua suggests that companies can also show that they prioritise employee well-being by providing mental health support and resources.
As businesses prepare themselves for an impending recession and more cost cutting, ShiHua anticipates that salary increments will see a significant slowdown in 2024. Overall, there will be greater reserve when it comes to making job offers as businesses give more attention to talent retention amidst the burgeoning trend of employee burnout.
Request access to our 2024 Salary Survey to benchmark salaries and to find out more about key hiring trends for Banking & Financial Services contract professionals in Singapore.
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Banking & financial services (Contract), Singapore
ShiHua has over 3 years of experience in recruitment and specialises in the contracting space, with a proven track record of finding banking & financial specialists their ideal role.
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