Contract hiring trends in banking continue to flourish with rising gig economy

In Singapore’s efforts for becoming a smart nation, it has continued to push the economy in all aspects including heavy restructuring that has been pressuring the local job market to hire only the very niche and highly skilled talent.

Furthermore, with the rise of the gig economy alongside increasing demand for work-flexibility and life-balance, this has taken a toll on permanent employment, decreasing to 9% in the Banking and Financial Industry (BFSI) sector in Southeast Asia.

In Singapore, demand for permanent roles within Finance and Accounts had plunged since July as Singapore reported a 10% decline in hiring activity as reported by Monster.

An increased number of Singaporeans are beginning to embrace the benefits of contractual employment within the financial sector and banks on the other hand, are catering to these changing preferences. Strategically located to be a financial hub in Asia, the search and retention for the best talent within the financial sector will always remain a critical factor for the country.

Contract hiring on the rise

Contract jobs which were once perceived to only belong to low-paying menial work, have now opened up to a range of roles within Singapore’s financial industry. Financial professionals are increasingly opening up their options towards contractual roles as they see it as a potential “foot in the door” to the bank they want to work for, having witnessed their peers offered permanent roles at the end of their fixed-terms. More people are also seen to be using contractual positions to test different banking roles before settling on their preferred function, giving more room for personal growth and achievement. On top of this, being involved in a niche role for the contract period allows the candidate to focus and hone their specialised skill within their chosen skillset. This is extremely beneficial for candidates who ultimately decide to further pursue their specialisation and focus on it, as they would have invested sufficient time and effort as well as gained the relevant experience in a particular niche area compared to a generalist.

In addition, banks and human resource experts said the rise of technology has led to an increase in demand of many new contractual positions. Given that contracts in Singapore are often task-orientated or project-lead basis, roles within the banking sector which did not previously exist such as UX/UI designers, digital data analysts and app developers are now high in demand.

Furthermore, as more consumers demand for a seamless banking experience, cloud computing and information security talent to support its digital initiatives undertaken by banks have been on the rise. DBS for example, has been supporting and enhancing payments ecosystems with easy-to-use options to meet customers and merchants alike in their payment needs and preferences. They offer customers a variety of options to make mobile payments and was one of the first in Singapore to adopt all three mobile payment platforms – Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Android Pay.  

Singapore’s Greater Employee Protection in a Changing Manpower Landscape

Singapore’s workforce is slowly shedding its traditional reluctance towards short-term assignments, and this is largely due to rising pay rates and generous benefits.

Additionally, contract models offers people the flexibility to better control their work-life balance and the leeway to upskill and make themselves more attractive.

On 6 October 2017, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) and the Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF) jointly released the Tripartite Standard on Flexible Work Arrangements (FWAs) in light of the demand for better working conditions. This was launched to gear our economy towards the creation of a supportive and conducive work environment. Implementing FWAs will benefit both employees and employers as the latter will be able to meet their employees’ work-life needs. Employers will also stand to better attract and retain talent, whilst improve the productivity of their workforce.

Banks likes DBS, Citibank, OCBC have committed themselves towards the adoption of fair and progressive employment practices by meeting the requirements of specific Tripartite Standards.

Huxley moving forward

With the gradual incline towards contractual hiring in Singapore, and the implementation of fair and merit-based employment practices, this widens the pool of candidates that employers can recruit from thereby increasing their chances of finding the best fit for the job. Nonetheless, amidst a climate of disruption towards traditional business models, it remains crucial that Singapore's workforce continues to re-skill, upskill and adopt an agile mind-set in order to remain relevant for Singapore's future economy.

Having understood this, the contracts team in Huxley is able to provide you with up-to-date salaries and benefits’ packages that are currently in the market for contractual roles.

If you are interested to learn more about talent within the contractual market, do connect with Margaux Cabinian or follow our LinkedIn page for more industry updates.

Sources: eFinanicial, The Business Review, Channel News Asia, ASEAN briefing, TODAY Online,,

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