Bulk of employees are local, banks say

PHOTO: Bulk of employees are local, banks say

SINGAPORE - Local banks believe their hiring policies are in keeping with new Ministry of Manpower (MOM) rules to ensure that companies give Singaporeans fair consideration for jobs.

The banks say their recruiting processes ensure that the bulk of their employees are locals and permanent residents. The finance industry is often in the hot seat over hiring as it is one of the main sectors employing foreigners.

Mr George McFerran, the Asia- Pacific managing director of recruitment firm eFinancialCareers, said most banks prefer to hire locals but the nature of the industry is that it sometimes requires foreign talent.

"Hiring someone from overseas is expensive and takes time, while hiring a local makes sense - they understand the market and will have good connections," he said. "But if you have a French client who wants his banker, his representative in Asia, to understand his culture and speak French, you may need to hire a French banker."

Banks who spoke to The Straits Times on Tuesday say they have put in place measures to give fair consideration to locals.

Singaporeans and PRs make up more than 90 per cent of staff at the three local lenders - DBS Bank, United Overseas Bank and OCBC Bank.

HSBC and Standard Chartered said locals and PRs make up about 90 per cent of staff, while at Citi it is 82 per cent.

Citi's head of corporate affairs, Mr Adam Rahman, said: "It is important to have some foreign talent who have global perspectives, expertise and skills to complement the overall development of Singapore as an international financial hub, and also enable the transfer of skills to the local staff."

While banks say that their hiring practices largely follow the MOM regulations released on Monday, they add that the new rules could trigger a bidding war.

This is because the new rules require a job advertisement in a new jobs bank. The information provided should include the salary range. While this would increase transparency, this could also lead to job-seekers comparing salaries across various banks and becoming more picky, bankers said.

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