As the year transitioned to 2023, companies adopted a more cautious approach in hiring. The unpredictable developments in the global financial services sector, such as the unexpected downfall of Silicon Valley Bank and the merger of UBS and Credit Suisse, led companies to exercise caution. However, these disruptions highlighted the increasing importance of having the right compliance talent within organizations.
While Singapore saw a 15% reduction in job volume during the first half of 2023, Hong Kong experienced a 20% increase, primarily driven by efforts to reopen the market and attract talent. The rise in job opportunities in Hong Kong contributed to the decrease in job volume in Singapore. Nonetheless, Singapore’s ongoing initiatives to solidify its status as a global financial hub, along with its political stability, continue to attract firms to expand their presence in the country. Companies are displaying flexibility in their hiring strategies, choosing either Singapore or Hong Kong based on the availability of suitable talent and their specific business strategies.
However, filling the available jobs is taking longer as recruitment processes have slowed down. The average hiring time has increased to 75 days, which is approximately 50% longer compared to previous years.
Looking ahead to the second half of 2023, with increased clarity within the banking and financial services industry, a moderated increase in hiring across the Asia Pacific region is anticipated. Salary increments in Singapore are predicted to be at 10-15%, while Hong Kong is expected to see a 20-25% increase. Having said this, it is paramount for candidates, especially in Singapore, to be mindful that the hiring boom in 2022 has resulted in a substantial disparity between client and candidate salary expectations in 2023. Candidates are still expecting the 30-40% increase when moving role, but with the change in market condition, employers are adopting a more careful approach to job offers, often necessitating an additional layer of approval for all offers, which tends to prolong the offer process even further. It’s essential for candidates to focus on the broader role and business prospects as employers are keenly assessing their motivations to confirm alignment with the role and having an overblown salary expectations would potentially risk the chances of landing offers.
Overall, the hiring landscape in Singapore and Hong Kong reflects a cautious yet evolving market. While job volumes may fluctuate, both cities continue to be attractive destinations for financial firms, and the availability of suitable talent plays a crucial role in the decision-making process. As the industry adapts to changing circumstances, it is anticipated that hiring will pick up in the latter half of 2023, supporting the growth and development of the financial sector in the region.
If you would like to have a further understanding of the current market and talent pool in either Singapore or Hong Kong, pls do not hesitate to reach out to Serene.
Serene Tan, Associate Director, Head of Compliance, Singapore.
T: +65 6950 4501
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