Fear of losing staff most acute in Singapore and Hong Kong

28 April 2013

Global survey reveals challenging employment market in banking and financial services

• Nearly nine in 10 (89 per cent) financial services leaders surveyed globally find it challenging to find skilled financial services professionals
• Globally, 83 per cent of institutions are concerned about losing top performers to other opportunities - rising to 92 per cent in Singapore
• Demand is strongest for financial services professionals with finance and accounting experience and risk expertise

Singapore 29 April, 2013 – Already faced with a changing regulatory landscape globally, the financial services sector may have yet another challenge: finding and retaining good employees. In a study from recruitment specialist Robert Half, nearly nine in 10 (89 per cent) of financial services leaders report recruiting difficulties, and 83 per cent said they are concerned about losing top performers to other opportunities this year.

Neil Owen, Global Practice Director, Robert Half Financial Services said: “While some areas within financial services institutions have seen cutbacks, other more profitable product lines are receiving further investment, resulting in additional hiring. This makes it a challenge to find the requisite staff to capitalize on emerging opportunities.”

Stella Tang, Director, Robert Half Singapore said: “Competition for the industry’s top talent has intensified, particularly risk and compliance professionals who continue to be in high demand as companies navigate unprecedented regulatory shifts while growing their core business.”

Recruiting Challenges
The global survey found eighty-nine per cent of financial services leaders find it challenging to recruit skilled financial services professionals. Talent shortages are especially acute in Singapore where 93 per cent of respondents cited difficulties. Even in France, which had the lowest level of difficulty in the survey report, 82 per cent of firms are experiencing recruiting challenges.


When asked how challenging it is to find skilled financial services professionals
   (a) Very challenging (b) Somewhat challenging (a) (b)
All countries 33% 56% 89%
Hong Kong 38% 57% 95%
Singapore 49% 45% 93%
Germany 36% 55% 91%
UK 29% 62% 91%
Canada 28% 62% 90%
US 30% 54% 84%
France 15% 67% 82%


Stella Tang continues: “Building a team with the right skills is becoming increasingly difficult.  Banks and financial services firms face a market where demand for skilled professionals often outweighs the supply”.

Retention Concerns
With the market improving for financial services professionals who can fill roles in areas such as accounting and finance, operations support, revenue generation, and risk and compliance, employers around the globe are worried about losing their best and brightest to other opportunities. A large majority, 83 per cent, of financial services leaders, are either very or somewhat concerned about their ability to hang on to top performers this year, the study found.

The greatest worries appear to be in Hong Kong and Singapore, where a net 93 per cent and 92 per cent of respondents, respectively, cited concerns about losing valued employees.  In each of the seven countries surveyed, at least 76 per cent of respondents expressed some level of concern.


When asked how concerned they are about losing top performers
  (a) Very concerned (b) Somewhat concerned (a) (b)
All countries 31% 52% 83%
Hong Kong 40% 53% 93%
Singapore 50% 42% 92%
Germany 21% 66% 87%
Canada 22% 62% 84%
UK 24% 59% 83%
US 29% 48% 77%
France 21% 55% 76%


Neil Owen continues: “Combined with an improving job market for financial services professionals in specialised roles, the growing need for regulatory expertise and the substantial operational changes taking place in the sector will likely exacerbate current retention challenges.”

Stella Tang concludes: “The challenge of recruiting and retention is only going to get harder.  Employers will need to enhance their efforts, including offering salary increases and progressive perks, to keep their most valued employees in an increasingly tight manpower market.”


About the Survey
The survey was conducted by an independent research firm and includes responses from 1,100 Financial Services leaders in 7 countries: Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Singapore, the UK and the US.



Contact us


Gabrielle Nagy 
Public Relations Manager, Asia Pacific
P: +61 2 8028 7751
E: [email protected]

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