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2020 Banking & Financial Services hiring trends and salaries

The complete report for hiring managers and candidates across front, middle and back office functions

By: Ethos BeathChapman's Banking & Financial Services practice


Foreword by Richard Bradshaw, Managing Director, Asia 

2019 was a demanding year for the banking and financial services industry in Asia. Hampered by shaky geopolitical tensions, rising costs, and competition from fintechs and non-banking financial institutions, profitability had come under pressure all around. 2020 started on an equally ambiguous note, with the ominous impact of COVID-19 to be fully felt across financial markets. Adding yet another layer of complexity are virtual banks, poised to take Singapore and Southeast Asia by storm from 2021.

Despite challenging times, banks and financial institutions have been resilient. 

The industry navigates uncertainty with resolute focus, as it identifies new opportunities, develops innovative solutions and new revenue models, while future proofing through digital transformation, data insights and technology investments.

From front office to back office, operational processes and job functions have undergone significant change, evolving in favour of efficiency, simplification, automation and accessibility in response to the market.

Retail banking has experienced the lion’s share of growth. The reverse is true of investment banking which has been hit the hardest, witnessing extreme cost-cutting and retrenchments at senior levels across all tiers of banks.

In this report, Ethos BeathChapman integrates our extensive interactions with banking and financial services professionals across the Asia Pacific region, and identified some key hiring trends stand out across the industry, including:

  • The significance of Asia, emerging ASEAN markets in particular, as a growth opportunity for all banks. For this reason, local market knowledge and Asian language skills have been in high demand.


  • The focus on revenue drivers and the quality of their network. Relationship managers possessing strong relationships with their clients, especially ones able to network in offshore markets, are in demand.


  • Demand for data and technology hires across all banks and financial services companies as they ramp up their digital capabilities.


  • The crossing over of retail banking relationship managers and investment bankers to private banking to address the growing needs of ultra-high net worth (UHNW) clients


In this report, we point out hiring trends specific to each segment and offer advice to hiring managers around navigating executive recruitment challenges in today’s banking and financial services industry. 

If you are hiring across Asia Pacific, or a professional within the banking and financial services needing advice, free to reach out to my colleagues or myself. We’re here to help.

Search here for banking and financial services career opportunities within the Asia Pacific region. 


Related story:

Finews Asia: How bank staff in Asia can future-proof themselves


About Ethos BeathChapman, EBC:
We are a global group of executive recruitment experts in Australia, Asia and EMEA, with a network beyond. We connect exceptional people to exceptional companies. Established 2005 in Sydney, our multidisciplinary expertise covers corporate and specialised functions across Banking and Financial Services, Fintech, Technology, Legal, Risk, Compliance, Healthcare, and Consumer recruitment markets, among others. For more information: www.ethosbc.com  

EA Licence No. 16S8112 | RCB No. 201135765R ​


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