Hiring in Banking and Financial Services: Investment, fintech, and digital banking drive strong hiring demand in 2023

KimYie Lee, Senior Manager of Banking and Financial Services, Robert Walters Malaysia

In 2022, the banking and financial services sector in Malaysia saw significant demand in private equity and wealth, as well as the continued growth in fintech.

KimYie Lee, Senior Manager of Banking & Financial Services (Front & Back Office), Robert Walters Malaysia, shares: “New local and foreign private equity and private wealth firms emerged in the country, leading to active hiring of candidates equipped with knowledge of investor relations, investment analysis, and business development. Back-office roles in finance and operations were also in demand to support business processes.

In the fintech space, there was ongoing demand for front-office talent experienced in digital marketing, performance marketing, social media content creation, and partnerships, many of whom were hired from other industries such as e-commerce, telecommunications, and media. Skilled candidates in back-office roles such as operations and digital product specialists were also sought after to support the growth.

“Due to changes brought on by digitalisation of the banking industry, there was a strong demand for risk, audit, and compliance professionals with exposure to analytics as banks sought to transform and enhance functions,” highlights Doreen Ooi, Manager of Banking & Financial Services (Middle Office), Robert Walters Malaysia.

In line with increased focus on sustainability, the sector saw active hiring of candidates with experience in Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) and sustainability. Some companies were also looking out for candidates who can take on Climate Stress Testing.

Read on as KimYie and Doreen share their expectations of the labour market and hiring trends for banking and financial services professionals in 2023.

Biggest hiring trends of 2023

The demand for skilled talent in investments, fintech, and digital banking is expected to continue in 2023, says KimYie.

Companies will be looking out for candidates with financial modelling experience to fill roles in investment banking and private equity, ranging from junior analysts and mid-management positions in both front and back-office roles.

Candidates with experience in partnerships, sales, digital marketing, and social media marketing will continue to be in demand for fintech products. There will also be companies on the lookout for professionals with specialist skillsets in blockchain, cryptocurrencies, and NFTs.

On the back of the successful approval of five digital bank licenses in 2022, specialists in digital products and operations will remain highly sought after to be part of the pioneer teams key to setting up processes and systems before going live.

Risk, audit, and compliance professionals with strong analytical and business partnering skills will remain in high demand in the sector. “As transformation projects continue, those with project management experience will command high interest,” says Doreen.

Similarly, there will be continued demand for candidates with niche skillsets in credit risk modelling, ICAAP, stress testing, and ESG, as they are a scarce resource in the country. As lessons have been learnt from the Covid-19 pandemic, many banks will also be firming up their Business Continuity Management function to be better prepared in future crises. 

Advice on attraction and retention of talent

KimYie recommends hiring managers keep up with changing times and the trend of flexible work arrangements, as many candidates would now consider the option as one of the top priorities when choosing an employer.

“Candidates today are looking for employment that can accommodate their lifestyles. Due to the pandemic, many have seen the positive results of delivering work effectively without having to sacrifice personal commitments,” adds Doreen.

Companies should also ensure they have a strong and positive online presence on Google, Glassdoor and LinkedIn, as younger skilled talent will look online for desirable brand traits before applying for job positions. 

To attract talent, hiring managers must keep up with changing times and the trend of flexible work arrangements, as many candidates would now consider the option as one of the top priorities when choosing an employer.

In retaining talent, KimYie shares that companies will also need to accommodate employees’ increasing preference for hybrid work models or flexible work hours. However, while such flexible work options are an important consideration to staff retention, companies will need to balance it with strong engagement initiatives.

“There needs to be strong one-on-one catch-up sessions with managers and among team members to foster warm relationships at work,” advises Doreen.

Increased familiarity with employees will allow line managers to identify potential and highly driven individuals and offer such employees exposure and opportunities to various function across organisations.

Salary rises hold steady at 20-25%

Across the sector, job movers can expect salary increments of 20-25%. Candidates with niche skillsets may be able to garner higher rises for highly sought-after positions.

Find out more

Request access to our 2023 Salary Survey to benchmark salaries and to find out more about the latest hiring and talent trends in the Banking and Financial Services industry in Malaysia.