Thursday, March 15, 2012

Banks are hiring more and more locals in Singapore and Hong Kong compared to expats

A local talent pool getting more experienced and mature every year, expats getting more and more expensive and governments push to encourage local hiring is having their collective effects on bank hirings as more and more banks are hiring locals while expat hirings are slumping according to
"Localising their workforces has long been a priority for global and regional firms in Singapore and Hong Kong. But the push to hire local candidates is gaining even stronger momentum this year. 
Jansen Gwee, general manager, banking and financial services, InterQuest Asia, Singapore, says the candidate pool in Asia has matured considerably. While firms may have typically appointed foreign bankers to lead teams five to ten years ago, this has since changed, with Singaporean candidates having gained experience and better honed their business skills."
 In Singapore, as well as Hong Kong, expensive expats benefits increasingly look "not worthy" even after great reductions in the size and durations of expat packages:
"Although cushy packages for overseas staff aren’t too popular these days, some firms still cover housing expenses for six to 12 months. Gwee says: “If you go down to the dollars and cents, this can be about 20 per cent more. In addition, expat compensation is generally 20 to 25 per cent higher because salary scales may be larger in their respective economies.” All this adds up as firms keep a closer eye on costs."
For majority of the expats in banking and financial services industry in Singapore and Hong Kong, these destinations are temporary experience hubs before going back to West again which creates continuity issues. Increased requirement of Asian language skills, particularly Chinese, also gives an edge to local banking talents in Singapore and Hong Kong over their expat competitors. Majority of Singapore and Hong Kong population are Chinese with Mandarin skills even if it is not their mother dialect.

Singapore Raffles Square 
According to the article, what all these mean that expat hires are significantly down in the current climate, 30 per cent decrease year-on-year:

“Most of these are typically for cross-border M&A roles and for private banking positions servicing specific foreign markets. 
Aldrich is also seeing some banks move senior people from the US, Europe and the Middle East into Asia Pacific. It’s an alternative way of using internal talent that could be retrenched, scaling up businesses or providing career growth. He anticipates “a continued desire to localise positions wherever possible”.

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