Insight & Analysis

Press release: Singapore beats Hong Kong in digital transformation, according to online jobs census

Published: Jan 2019

30th January 2019 – Singapore and Hong Kong are often seen competing for the title of Asia’s most important financial hub. This report analyses the state of digital transformation in banks in both cities based on their hiring activities in 2018.

Top Hiring Singapore Banks Posted More Technology Roles Than Top Hiring Hong Kong Banks

While the top hiring banks in Hong Kong generally hire more positions than the top hiring banks in Singapore, the banks in Singapore hire a much larger proportion of technology jobs, with 20% of job posting being a technology job, as compared to 5% in Hongkong.

Banks with significant presence in both cities also hire a larger number of technology jobs in Singapore as compared to Hong Kong

For instance, J.P. Morgan posted 640 technology jobs in Singapore and 170 in Hong Kong and DBS posted 630 technology jobs in Singapore and only 50 in Hong Kong. Given that these banks have a significant presence in Hong Kong, it could suggest that they are basing most of their digitisation efforts in Singapore.

Singapore Hong Kong
Top Hiring Banks Job Postings Technology Job Postings Top Hiring Banks Job Postings Technology Job Postings
UOB 3,000 600 (20%) Bank of China 4,830 290 (6%)
J.P. Morgan 2,460 640 (26%) HSBC 2,800 70 (2%)
Citibank 1,970 170 (9%) Citibank 2,080 130 (6%)
DBS Bank 1,500 630 (42%) Hang Seng Bank 1,330 30 (2%)
OCBC 1,320 50 (4%) Nanyang Commercial Bank 1,240 10 (1%)
Business Intelligence/Analytics, Data Analytics and Application Engineering were the most sought-after technology domains among top hiring banks in Singapore and Hong Kong in 2018

This is in line with banks’ digital transformation initiatives and their push for analytics. The hiring trend for Business Intelligence/Analytics and Data Analytics positions is consistent across many of the large banks in recent years. J.P. Morgan and OCBC seem to follow this trend to a lesser extent in 2018. OCBC technological domains are more spread out in Singapore with a slightly stronger focus in Information Security while J.P. Morgan has a deeper focus on Application Engineering.

It is also noteworthy that there is a stronger focus on Information Security positions in top hiring Singapore banks than its counterparts in Hong Kong, which is another indication of digitising efforts in Singapore, given that cyber security plays a critical role in digitisation.

Breakdown (%) of Technology Jobs Domains by Top Hiring Banks in Singapore and Hong Kong in 2018

The heatmap examines the breakdown of technology jobs posted by these top hiring banks by their technological domains, with darker shades showing higher prevalence and vice versa.

Most Sought-After Skills in Business Intelligence/Analytics, Data Analytics and Application Engineering by Top Hiring Banks in Singapore and Hong Kong in 2018

Business Intelligence/Analytics Data Analytics Application Engineering
Rank Singapore Hong Kong Singapore Hong Kong Singapore Hong Kong
1 Data Analytics Business Finance Data Analytics Data Analytics Java Java
2 Project Management Project Management Big Data Python Cloud Cloud
3 Business Finance Risk Management SQL Machine Learning Algorithms Big Data Big Data
4 Business Analytics Microsoft Excel Python SAS Machine Learning Algorithms Machine Learning Algorithms
5 Regulatory Compliance Regulatory Compliance Hadoop R-Programming Cyber Security Cyber Security

There are some similarities in terms of skills and domain knowledge areas across technological domains in Singapore and Hong Kong top hiring banks. Business Intelligence/Analytics positions focused on business and finance related domain knowledge, while Data Analytics positions focused more on popular programming, database management and statistical skills used in Data Science. Also, banks from both countries tend to look out for Java and Cloud skills sets for Application Engineering positions.

However, for the Data Analytics domain, there are more Big Data related technology skills such as Big Data and Hadoop in Singapore whereas Machine Learning Algorithms, SAS and R-Programming are more sought-after in Hong Kong.

Singapore banks are ramping up on its technological expertise more intensely

Not only are Singapore banks looking to hire more technological talents, they are also looking to hire for a wider variety of different domain expertise, which is often necessary for digitisation of a sector. The above analysis offers a glimpse into the different approaches two rival financial hubs are taking to improve their competitive advantage in the region.

By analysing skills requirements across domains, companies and geolocations, it is possible to glean deeper insights into companies hiring trends as well as workforce demands in countries.

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