RETAIL BANKING | Staff Reporter, Singapore

Talent crunch push Singapore banks abroad for in-demand technologists

The local market is failing to keep up with demand.

Banks in Singapore have been steadily turning to overseas markets to recruit specialist senior technologists as lenders struggle to plug a chronic manpower shortage aggravated by competition from local tech firms, reports efinancialcareers. 

Also read: Singapore bank headcount up by over 4,500 in H2

Both local and international lenders in the Lion City have been adding hundreds of new employees in technology to their headcounts with DBS recruiting about 200 new technologists in the first five months of 2018. More than third of J.P. Morgan Singapore’s staff also work in tech.

However, tightening government policies on foreigner hiring and a lack of available manpower in people-short Singapore is making it hard to recruit locally, which is also a growing problem in Hong Kong

“Banks in Singapore have been growing their technology teams very aggressively over the last few years, and there’s now a noticeable gap between the supply of local candidates versus the demand for them,” says Lucas Yeo, head of banking and finance at recruiters Tangspac.

Candidates with experience in full-stack, front-end, back-end or mobile developments are amongst those in heated demand whilst languages in high demand in Singapore banking include Java, Python and Go for back-end, and ReactJS, AngularJS and VueJS for front-end, said Michael Nette, a director at recruiters Ambition.

Also read: Banks are at the forefront of Singapore's upskilling charge

The financial and business services industry is expected to be hardest hit by a talent crunch in the Asia Pacific, according to a study by market research firm Korn Ferry, who estimated a loss to the lion city at around $142.51b if it fails to plug the manpower and talent problem by 2030.

“The talent crunch will be even more damaging for small but currently mighty spots Hong Kong and Singapore,” the report pointed out.

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