FINANCIAL SERVICES | Staff Reporter, Singapore

Offshoring erodes jobs confidence of Singapore financial service staff

More roles relocating to India, Philippines.

Astbury Marsden released its latest ‘Optimism Index’ which revealed a change in sentiment over the last quarter, as the index for candidate confidence fell from 50.5 in the middle of the year to 39.4 at the end of quarter three. A score of 50 or higher demonstrates a positive sentiment on jobs.

Mark O’Reilly, Managing Director of Asia Pacific at Astbury Marsden explains: “The offshoring of jobs out of Singapore is undoubtedly acting as a drag on sentiment. Although this process has been going on for a few years, 2013 saw acceleration in the number of International banks relocating roles to other countries.”

Astbury Marsden says that Singapore’s fast-growing position as a financial services hub had led to a boom in jobs in the back and middle offices of global investment banks over the last decade. However, over the past two years in particular, back and middle office jobs have been moved from Singapore to lower cost centres in India and the Philippines.

Jobs being offshored from Singapore include finance, technology and operational roles.

In fact, 46% of financial services employers polled and 50% of job candidates were less optimistic about the jobs market over the coming year, as the growth of Singapore’s financial services sector continues to moderate.

Astbury Marsden says that financial services recruitment in Singapore however is still strong for roles that deal with the regulatory change agenda such as Basle III, Dodd-Frank and FACTA.

Mark O’Reilly says that as yet sentiment in Singapore has not taken a substantial knock from concerns over the tapering of the US’ quantitative easing policy.

Tighter global liquidity has resulted in share prices and currency volatility and rising borrowing costs for companies and governments across Asia and South East Asia.

Mark O’Reilly adds: “Increased volatility in the markets as a result of fears over tapering, has led to tighter funding conditions for many companies, particularly in fast growth economies serviced by Singapore’s financial services hub. But as yet this hasn’t really affected hiring activity in Singapore.”

“Although some financial services’ sectors aren’t experiencing the same level of growth as in previous years, sectors such as wealth management, driven by South East Asian high-net worth individuals, are expected to continue to thrive.”

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