New market penetration and new projects driving demand for finance & accounting staff

15 July 2013

Confidence drives expansion which leads to more jobs for Singapore professionals

[Singapore], July 16, 2013:  Companies in Singapore are actively recruiting accounting, finance and financial services professionals as part of their growth plans. New research released today by specialist finance and accounting recruitment firm Robert Half has found that nearly four in 10 firms plan to increase the number of accounting and finance professionals they employ during the third quarter of 2013 – with new market penetration and new projects driving the need for the additional headcount.

The Robert Half Financial Employment Report July 2013 captures the views of 150 Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) and Finance Directors in Singapore from the Commerce and Industry sector1, and 150 senior business leaders from the Banking and Financial Services sector.

In the Banking and Finance Services sector, 38 per cent of companies plan to add new permanent financial services staff this quarter with a further 51 per cent maintaining current levels.  Another nine per cent are freezing all new hires while just three per cent are looking to reduce headcount.   

In the Commerce and Industry sector, 37 per cent of CFOs and finance directors plan to add new permanent finance and accounting staff this quarter while 56 per cent will be maintaining their current headcount.  Only seven per cent are freezing all new hires while there are no companies planning to reduce their headcount.

Table 1: Hiring projections in Singapore for the third quarter of 2013

Banking and Financial Services
Expanding headcount 38%
Maintaining headcount 51%
Freezing headcount 9%
Reducing headcount 2%


Commerce and Industry
Expanding headcount 37%
Maintaining headcount 56%
Freezing headcount 7%
Reducing headcount 0%

Source: 150 senior Financial Services leaders, and 150 CFOs and Finance Directors in Singapore


Companies in both sectors need additional employees to drive their growth plans.  According to the survey, the main reasons for needing new staff are to support new market penetration, the delivery of new projects and the increase in the products or services the company offers.

Table 2: Reasons for increasing headcount

Total Small
(1-499 employees)
(500-999 employees)
(1000 employees)
New projects and initiatives 62% 72% 54% 50%
New market penetration 57% 59% 38% 67%
Product or service expansion 46% 50% 23% 56%
Financial systems upgrades 25% 22% 31% 28%
Business growth or expansion (international) 24% 25% 15% 28%
Business growth or expansion
22% 19% 38% 17%
New regulatory requirements 8% 9% 8% 6%
Mergers or acquisitions 2% 0% 0% 6%


(1-499 employees)
(500-999 employees)
(1000 employees)
New projects and initiatives 54% 55% 53% 53%
New market penetration 51% 58% 53% 35%
Product or service expansion 38% 42% 24% 47%
Financial systems upgrades 35% 29% 53% 29%
Business growth or expansion (international) 32% 26% 47% 29%
Business growth or expansion
22% 16% 35% 18%
New regulatory requirements 8% 3% 0% 24%
Mergers or acquisitions 6% 6% 0% 12%



According to the survey, 80 per cent of Banking and Financial Services leaders are confident about Singapore’s economic future, while 82 per cent feel positive about their company’s prospects.

Among CFOs and finance directors in commerce and industry, 81 per cent are positive about Singapore’s economic prospects, and a very high 92 per cent are optimistic about their company’s fortunes.

Ms Stella Tang, Director of Robert Half in Singapore, said high confidence was the key to the increase in new job opportunities in both the financial services and commercial sectors.

"Confidence is driving business growth which is leading to more hires for finance, accounting and financial services professionals. And with an increase in employee numbers, more expansion plans can be pursued."

"Accessing new markets and translating impactful innovations into commercialisation on a global scale have always been how Singapore companies drive their growth. Whether it is increased presence in existing markets or entry into new markets, companies will need top talent with deep accounting and finance expertise to support their growth."

"At the same time, employers who are planning to maintain headcount over the next three months should carefully consider the long-term effects of doing more with the same resources, as productivity could fall as a result. They need to take proactive steps, including providing flexible work arrangements, rewards and recognition, and open communication to motivate and retain top performers.” Ms Tang said.


1Includes: Agriculture, Business services, Construction, Entertainment, Healthcare, Information technology, Legal, Manufacturing, Marketing, Media, Property services, Retail or wholesale, Telecoms, Transport, distribution or logistics, Other public sector (local government/civil service)


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

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