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Recruitment in Singapore vs London

​Like the rest of the World, Singapore was hit by the 2008 financial crisis. Since then, most parts of Asia have seen a bigger economic growth than Europe and even the USA. Moreover, in recent years, numerous companies transferred their headquarters to Singapore, making the country one of the most competitive and dynamic employment markets in Asia.

In Singapore, I focused mostly on Business Development and candidate resourcing. The role was very much relationship driven and I was quite often meeting with clients and worked on mandates across South East Asia.

Due to the economic incentives the government gave, more and more companies in the Commerce & Industry sector began to relocate their headquarters to Singapore. As a result, the country’s headcount grew and the demand in recruitment increased. Since Singapore is a relatively small country, building relationships remained as vital as it has always been. The Asian culture tends to be quite reserved, so building effective business relationships in Singapore isn’t necessarily an easy thing to do as a recruiter and it can take longer than in London.

The Singapore recruitment market was, and still is, very much candidate driven and good talent can be difficult to find. Companies are looking to hire local talent and there is a greater emphasis on placing Singaporeans into vacancies rather than attracting talent from overseas. With high competition for local talent, many employers need to find innovative new ways to attract highly-skilled local professionals in order to retain the right balance between local and foreign hires. Efforts are being made to recruit local talent in mid-management and general office positions but senior and specialist posts are still open to overseas candidates where specific skills and experience are limited.

My current role in London is also relationship led but, as opposed to Singapore, the banking and financial services recruitment market in London is more process driven. Resourcing partners prefer communication to go through them and recruiters aren’t able to have line contact with some tier 1 banks.

London’s banking and financial services recruitment market tends to be very competitive and the market is very agency driven compared to Singapore. There are more suppliers on the supplier lists hence working in London can be very fast paced. Moreover, London’s processes for tier 1 banks tend to have several interview stages as compared to the Commerce & Industry recruitment in Singapore. Clients in London also place more emphasis on education qualifications such as ACA etc. and they are also more receptive in hiring candidates without banking experience.

These are just a few differences between the London and Singapore recruitment market. If you are aware of more or if you would like to share your thoughts on this article and to stay up to date with the latest recruitment news in the financial markets sector, please post your comments below and like us on LinkedIn

Eunice covers Finance positions across Banking & Financial Services on both permanent and contract basis. If you would like to get in touch, please contact Eunice on or +44 (0) 20 3009 3478.