JobTech tracks the most active companies that have generated the largest number of job vacancies for the month of March, leveraging JobTech data from over a 1-year period from April 1, 2020 to March 31, 2021. This shows the companies that are actively hiring amidst prevailing market conditions and should serve as a guide for identifying the relevant skills that are in demand.

Figure 1: year-over-year growth of job vacancies of the top 3 actively hiring companies

In March 2021, the top 3 companies by number of job vacancies were DBS Bank, OCBC Bank and UOB. OCBC saw a 622% increase in job vacancies year-over-year (YoY) in March 2021, compared to March 2020, beating out the 211% YoY growth of DBS in terms of job vacancies. UOB saw a year-over-year growth of 163% in the number of job vacancies in March 2021.

The year-over-year increase in job vacancies came as DBS and OCBC, in May and June respectively last year, announced their intentions to continue hiring in spite of the pandemic. For DBS, a large portion of the job openings were new roles, both for fresh graduates as well as experienced personnel, with many digital-based roles in fields such as UI/UX, data analytics and compliance. OCBC also continued with its hiring plans across most of its business units, with positions in roles such as those in wealth management, risk management and data analytics, as well as digital roles. To aid in their endeavour, the banks continued to leverage wage subsidies from the Jobs Support Scheme.

Figure 2: month-over-month growth of job vacancies of the top 3 actively hiring companies

The number of job vacancies posted by DBS grew by 14% month-over-month (MoM). By comparison, the growth of job vacancies of OCBC stood at -11% month-over-month. UOB saw a -21% MoM growth.

The dampening effect of the COVID-19 pandemic was offset by the increase in technology-related jobs in the banking and financial services industry. The accelerated pace of digitalisation, which was particularly due to the increased offerings of digital services by banks, boosted the creation of technology-based roles in the industry, for instance, in the areas of data analytics, cloud computing and user interface/user experience (UI/UX). Additionally, the emergence of digital banks and fintech companies further increased the demand for such roles, as well as those in supporting areas such as business development and marketing.

Another trend that prompted the growth of job vacancies in the banking and finance industry was the increased focus on green finance and sustainable investing, in line with Singapore’s Green Plan and the development of the Green Economy. This comes as the country seeks to become a green finance hub. For example, UOB raised US$1.5 billion (S$2 billion) with the country’s first US dollar-denominated sustainability bond offering.

Also, the political unrest in Hong Kong prompted investors to move their financial assets to Singapore, spurring the demand for private bankers, as banks bolstered their wealth management businesses in Singapore.

Finally, the various government schemes in response to the COVID-19 pandemic served to encourage hiring in the banking and financial services industry. The SGUnited Traineeships programme and the SGUnited MidCareer Pathways programme allowed for increased opportunities for recent graduates and mid-career professionals respectively, and saw an uptake in employment opportunities across multiple industries.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) rolled out its Work-Study Support Programme for undergraduates to gain internship experience at financial institutions as part of the SkillsFuture Work-Study Degree Programme. The MAS also instituted the Finance Associate Management Scheme to encourage financial institutions to increase employment opportunities for Singaporeans in the industry.

The banking and financial services industry, which contained the top 3 companies that generated the largest number of job vacancies for the month of March, looks set to remain active in terms of hiring, especially given the recent trends, as the world gradually recovers from the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.