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Forget the freeze: Here's a job function in which three Asian banks are still hiring

Earlier this week, we highlighted M&A as an area which will potentially see more recruitment growth in Asia amid the dismal news of redundancies and headcount freezes in financial firms.

And here's more proof of life: the Singaporean banks DBS, UOB and OCBC are on a hiring drive in finance tech. Although there aren't hundreds of jobs on offer, these firms want to recruit nonetheless.

Brian Richards, partner, head of technology practice, Boyden, says Singaporean banks have been "strategically and cautiously aggressive", with each firm looking to hire an average of 50 IT professionals this quarter. Project managers, development managers, business analysts and technology/operations risk professionals are in demand.

Reasons why

A variety of factors explain the demand. Richards says: "Several regional projects and M&A deals are driving recruitment in Singaporean banks, especially since Asia is seen as the region where money can still be made. These firms have always been quite conservative, so they have decent cash reserves to hire."

Although it's fairly late into the year, recruiters believe there is definitely candidate movement in the current quarter, even if sign-on bonuses are rare. Richards says the recent restructuring and uncertainty at some global banks has made it more appealing for banking tech candidates to join Singaporean firms, which are perceived as being less "hire and fire".

Apart from stability, candidates like Singaporean banks because they offer empowering finance tech roles. Being based at headquarters means employees have more direct involvement in business decisions, says Richards.

This doesn't mean local banks are taking in all and sundry. Richards says: "Roles in foreign banks tend to be more 'siloed' and narrow in focus, so the challenge for local banks is to look for candidates who not only have specialised skills, but also breath of experience across multiple functions."

Still wanted: Foreign professionals

Candidates from the West are still in demand in certain IT banking roles, even in the current climate. Swami Nathan, director, Futura Solutions, says those with specialised product knowledge - for example in trading and risk management platforms such as Calypso and Sophis - are especially sought after.

He says: "The finance tech industry in Singapore is in need of people working on real-time trading systems, and we can find those talents from matured markets such as the US and UK."

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AUTHORShree Ann Mathavan Insider Comment

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