Citi's programme for analysts

Sarab Preet Singh, Head of ASEAN & Singapore HR, Citi on how this programme has helped create holistic development opportunities for analysts.

Citi has been in Singapore since 1902 and is represented in nearly every asset class. Home to strategically important hubs, Innovation Labs and the Asia Pacific Citi Service Centre (CSC), Citibank Singapore is built around three key business lines: wealth management products and services; unsecured products such as credit cards and personal line of credit; and secured products covering housing loans and share financing.

At the 10th annual edition of HR Excellence Awards, Singapore in 2022, Citi bagged a gold award for 'Excellence in Graduate Recruitment and Development'.

In view of this achievement, we catch up with Sarab Preet Singh, Head of ASEAN & Singapore Human Resources, Citi on how this programme has helped create holistic development opportunities for analysts, by empowering them to have a say in their career path.

Q Congratulations on the achievement! Could you take us through the highs-and-lows of your winning strategy?

Highs – This year, we were especially focused on further embedding and being best-in-class for not just our business, but our analysts as well. We also needed to push the boundaries on shifting the approach from being a programme solely driven by the Early Careers team, to a holistic approach where analysts themselves have a say in what matters most to them and their development.

Lows – With so much that we wanted to achieve, the challenge was prioritising what matters most now, and setting aside the rest as priorities for next year. We worked especially hard to get stakeholder buy-in from the beginning of this identification process and hence had strong support & partnership from the get-go.

Q How did the HR team identify and align the business & employee needs, and craft out this perfect solution?

By keeping communication open between the HR team and our analysts, line managers as well as senior business sponsors, we were able to maximise the input and feedback from them. From there, we executed on their top priorities, for instance, some verbatim examples include: ensuring diversity at all levels starting with our application journey, to cultivating a two-way feedback process for analysts to take ownership of their personal development.

All of these are designed with the business & our stakeholders in mind and how it will help enhance and achieve their goals.

Q Could you share the results that your strategy has delivered – be it on the business, HR, or people side?

Having implemented intentional and robust strategies, we achieved our overall 50% gender diversity hiring goal (60% females for our summer programme and 51% for our full-time programme in 2022).

One of the initiatives that saw greatest success is the Early Identification (EID) programme to fast-track female candidates into our Investment Banking & Global Markets Programme. Through EID we achieved a 70% conversion rate on our Summer Analyst Programme. Additionally, for some of our other business internship programmes, business managers were exceptionally pleased with the high quality of interns and requested for an increase in headcount to accommodate more return offerees.

Q What is your message to all the stakeholders who have supported you in this journey?

A massive thank you to every single one of the stakeholders involved in this process – from the resume screeners, intern line managers, buddies, mentors, HR partners, and business sponsors – the Early Careers team was only able to achieve and push the boundaries this year because you bought into our vision and journeyed with us the entire way. We are humbled by the time and manpower investment allocated to achieve this and have big ambitions to push this even further next year!

Q What are you most excited about when you think about the future of HR?

The beauty of being in HR, Early Careers specifically, is that this space is ever changing. The way we attract talent, the way they digest information, the type of talent we as an organisation want to attract is constantly evolving. As such, there are so many things that we’re only beginning to explore – from the platform we use to attract our talents, to the way we assess our talents, how to upskill and better equip our line managers and finally, how we leverage on our junior analysts in reverse-mentoring senior leaders of our organisation.


Photo / Citi 

Read more interviews on why organisations have won trophies for their HR practices - head over to our Winning Secrets' section!

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