Banks and financial services companies in Singapore prioritise cyber security spending

03 June 2014

93% hiring additional staff to protect their systems from cyber attacks

Following a series of high profile hacking attacks in Singapore, banks and financial services companies are increasing their spending on cyber-security in order to keep their systems safe.

A new survey by recruitment firm Robert Half found 60 per cent of all banks and financial services companies are increasing their spending on IT security compared to last year.

This is the highest percentage of any of the markets surveyed and well above the global average of 50 per cent.

IT security is now more likely to get increased funding than many other key banking functions, such as regulatory reform and compliance (57 per cent), product development (54 per cent) or digital initiatives (online banking, user experience) (51 per cent).

The survey was conducted among 725 senior Financial Services leaders, including 150 in Singapore. The survey was conducted across six markets - Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, the UAE, the United Kingdom and Singapore.

Table 1: In which of the following areas does your business anticipate increased spending in 2014 over 2013 levels?

  All Countries Singapore Australia UAE Hong Kong UK Japan
Cyber security 50% 60% 46% 47% 44% 52% 50%
Regulatory reform 39% 57% 23% 33% 26% 39% 45%
Data analytics and mining 46% 49% 46% 47% 53% 43% 41%
Digital (website, online banking, user experience) 41% 51% 38% 53% 35% 30% 41%
Product development 32% 54% 23% 20% 26% 13% 36%
IT investment to enable growth 31% 31% 27% 47% 18% 39% 32%
None of these 2% 0% 0% 7% 3% 4% 0%


A very high 93 per cent of banks and financial services companies in Singapore plan to hire more staff to manage their company’s online security - 39 per cent are hiring more permanent staff while another 54 per cent are engaging interim employees.

Stella Tang, Managing Director of Robert Half in Singapore said, “Banks and financial services companies that are not increasing their IT investment are instead hiring additional staff to bring their IT security functions in-house. Having a strong security team, comprised of key permanent staff and highly skilled interim security professionals can help companies ensure they take the necessarily precautionary measures to avoid a costly and often debilitating security breach.”

Larger companies in Singapore are more likely to be hiring permanent staff to manage cyber security. According to the survey, 42 per cent of large firms (1000+ employees) are planning to hire permanent employees to manage cyber security compared to 39 per cent of mid-sized firms (500 to 999 employees) and 37 per cent of small firms (less than 500 employees).

Table 2: Does your business plan to hire additional permanent and/or interim staff to help manage cyber security?

Business Size Total Small Medium Large
Hire permanent employees 39% 37% 39% 42%
Engage interim employees 54% 58% 45% 55%
No additional hiring 7% 5% 16% 3%


Ms Tang said banks and financial institutions are responding to the requirements and guidance issued by the Monetary Authority of Singapore to heighten their vigilance and safeguard their systems .

“Robert Half is seeing a spike in hiring activity for security experts, especially in the financial services sector.”

“Companies now realize that even the best designed system and most sophisticated software protection can be hacked. The best safeguard against a cyber-attack and loss of confidential data is a team of vigilant IT security professionals.”

“Preventing hacking is a 24-hour job and many teams need to work around the clock in shifts, so having enough manpower is essential if security breaches are to be prevented.”

“Salaries for IT security experts are also on the rise with an average 10 per cent increase compared to 2013 pay levels,” Ms Tang said.


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Gabrielle Nagy 
Public Relations Manager, Asia Pacific
P: +61 2 8028 7751
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