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Asia Pacific Compliance Market Update: 2024 Trends and Insights (H2)

The Asia Pacific Compliance job market within the Financial Services sector is undergoing significant recalibration in 2024. Following the post-COVID highs and the unexpected downturn in 2023, the global financial turmoil has shifted the focus of major banks towards India and the Middle East, leaving regional markets like Singapore and Hong Kong in a state of flux. While the Hong Kong market remains cautious, Singapore’s financial sector reported the largest change in hiring outlook, declining 30 percentage points from Q2 to a Q3 outlook of +15 percent, with many firms planning to boost headcount this year and into 2025.

Despite broader market challenges where firms are more reluctant to invest, sectors such as Private Banking, Family Offices, and Hedge Funds have bucked the trend with strong demand and growing bonuses. May and June saw a dip in overall market demand compared to the same period in 2023, largely due to market uncertainty and firms are more conservative in investing in new talent, especially at the senior level.  

However, there are increasing opportunities for junior compliance professionals as firms expand their functions to support the heightened regulatory pressure and new regulatory regimes. Matching candidates to employers’ precise skill requirements remains challenging, especially with the post-Covid wage inflation.

Market dynamics in Singapore are becoming more complex due to the government’s decision to increase the salary threshold for new foreign workers, which could impact niche financial product sectors. Additionally, the rising cost of living in Singapore is prompting more professionals to consider returning to Hong Kong, especially given Hong Kong’s government efforts to attract foreign talent. Post-Covid, many people are feeling burnt out, and candidates are now prioritising job stability over potential earnings. Additionally, firms are increasingly moving roles to lower-cost locations like India and the Philippines, influencing the job market.

Employers across the region are taking longer to hire, seeking candidates with specific skill sets and motivation. Wage expectations in Singapore have tempered to 10-15% increments, reflecting a recalibration from the inflated expectations of 2022. In contrast, Hong Kong’s wage expectations remain higher at 20-25%, reflecting slower economic recovery and a competitive job market. Moreover, firms are increasingly looking to invest in technology, such as Generative AI, to enhance efficiency rather than extensively expanding human capital.

In conclusion, 2024 represents a year of recalibration for the Asia Pacific financial services job market. While challenges persist, there are signs of cautious optimism with strategic hiring and investments in technology. The emphasis is on finding the right talent with the appropriate skills and motivation, positioning the market for potential recovery and growth in 2025.

If you are seeking to hire top-tier Compliance or Financial Crime professionals in Singapore or Hong Kong, or if you need expert advice and market insights, Serene, our regional specialist, is here to help. Whether you’re looking to advance your career or make a strategic hire, don’t hesitate to reach out for personalised support and guidance.

Serene Tan
Associate Director, Danos Group
Compliance & Governance

T: +(65) 6950 4501

Serene Tan

Associate Director, Compliance & Governance, Asia Pacific

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