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Singapore's plea for project managers

There are plenty of project management jobs going for expats in Singapore. Pay's not on par with London, but taxes are lower.

Citigroup is committing big money to Singapore. In a move following on from the bank's stated intention to shift 9,500 back office roles to lower cost regions, the world's biggest bank last week announced plans to commit S$220m (73m) to a new office in Singapore which will house 4,000 back office technology and operations employees, servicing 40 countries.

Citigroup is certainly not the only major investment bank to have set up a regional hub on the island.

Merrill Lynch has 5,000 employees in the country, Standard Chartered has 4,500 and Deutsche Bank has its global back office processing operations there. Credit Suisse and Lehman Brothers also have a Singapore base.

Basing IT and operations in Singapore is all very well, except banks just can't get the managerial staff. "The idea of having operations in the region is to cut costs, but it's difficult to get locals for the project management positions," says Rob Hughes, Asia-Pacific consultant at Astbury Marsden. "London and New York are the main areas that house the skill sets for these roles."

Jeremy Canning, country head, Singapore at recruitment firm Morgan McKinley, confirms that big banks are plundering the likes of London in their search for talent: "As their IT systems are based on their corporate template, it seems logical for these businesses to attract project managers from elsewhere who are already familiar with the systems."

The bad news is that pay isn't great. Recruiters say the average project manager who leaves London for Singapore can expect a 50% cut in pay. This is made marginally more tolerable by the local tax rate, which peaks at 20% as opposed to the 40% top rate in the UK.

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AUTHOReFinancialCareers UK Insider Comment
  • An
    Anon
    14 November 2007

    What does 'back office technology' mean. Did you mean to write, Operations IT/Infrastructure?

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