The best jobs at UOB as salaries and headcount surge

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Average pay at UOB jumped 6% year-on-year for the first nine months of 2019 as the bank continued to take on hundreds of expensive new technology employees and invest in its markets division.

Staff costs per head at UOB – total employee expenditure (such as salaries and bonuses) divided by total headcount – increased by S$4,162 (or 6%) to reach S$75,795 for the year to end-September, according to the bank’s third quarter results. Meanwhile, the firm’s headcount went from 25,826 to 26,941 (a rise of 1,115) over the same 12-month period.

UOB’s financial results don’t provide details of the extra headcount but they do repeatedly state that the bank has “invested in talent and technology” in 2019.

It is likely that tech recruits account for a high proportion of UOB’s new 1,115 employees. When we reviewed the careers sites of all three Singaporean banks in September we found that 40% of UOB’s domestic vacancies were for tech, digital banking or data jobs – a higher percentage than at DBS or OCBC. That figure has now risen to 46%, with the roles split roughly 50/50 between UOB’s headquarters in Raffles Place and its tower block in suburban Alexandra.

Tech recruitment is also likely to have contributed to the increase in average compensation at UOB.

An increasingly competitive job market for technologists in Singapore – which is driven by the likes of Google and Amazon as well as by large banks – is helping to push up pay for tech professionals in the Republic. 

UOB has made a number of senior technology hires this year, including veteran Albert Kho, who joined from DBS in November as a managing director, group retail and channels, technology and operations.

If you’re not a tech professional but want to work in a well-paid, over-achieving division of the bank, try global markets, which provides foreign exchange, interest rate, credit, commodities, equities and structured investment products. Profit before tax tripled to S$91m year-on-year in the third quarter (a much larger increase than UOB’s retail and wholesale banking divisions experienced), on the back of higher trading income and gains from securities investment.

Meanwhile, third quarter expenses rose 31% as markets enjoyed “investments in people and digital capabilities”. Headcount in the unit appears to be on the rise.

Image credit: RomanBabakin, Getty

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