RETENTION SALARY TRENDS
Singapore – The local banking sector is facing the threat of a talent exodus, with 78% of bosses fearful of losing their best employees to competitors.
The concern is most acute in large firms with over 1,000 staff, according to the results of a joint survey by recruitment firm Robert Half and the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Singapore (ICPAS). Nine in 10 of the 300 local senior professionals and top executives polled said they are worried about the departure of their best staff over the next 12 months.
Finding a suitable replacement for finance and accounting positions also takes longer in Singapore compared to other major markets in Asia. A management position takes 6.5 weeks to fill in Singapore, compared to 5.9 weeks in Shanghai, 6.4 weeks in Hong Kong and 4.9 weeks in Japan.
Overall, employers are keen to hire those with more functional knowledge, such as accountants, internal auditors, financial analysts, as well as risk and regulatory compliance.
This is reflected in the massive jump in starting salaries and large bonuses for individuals holding such specialised positions, Tim Hird, managing director for Asia at Robert Half, observed. He noted a senior compliance specialist in Singapore can expect to earn a starting pay of S$220,000 today - 83% higher than two years ago.
Ernest Kan, president of ICPAS, said the rise in demand for those with compliance and anti-money-laundering knowledge can be attributed to recent moves by regulators, such as the Singapore Exchange, to enhance corporate governance, particularly for listed companies.
“As firms are more aware that they need to have a robust and effective system of internal controls to address financial, operational and compliance risks, they will have to hire more talent to do this compliance work,” he said.
Overall, employees in banking and financial services can expect to see their pay pumped up by 5.67% this year, while those in the finance and accounting sector can expect a 4.71% increase, the survey revealed.
The best bets for skilled individuals seeking finance and accounting jobs are in energy-related fields like oil and gas, chemicals and mining.
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