Standard Chartered still on Asian hiring spree even as it cuts thousands of jobs

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Standard Chartered is cutting 15,000 jobs – but the bank is still hiring in large numbers in Asia.

In fact, Stan Chart is one of the most active recruiters in the Singapore and Hong Kong banking sectors – with about 160 and 100 vacancies in each city respectively – although it's not hiring much in investment banking.

So what type of roles is it recruiting for? We’ve searched through Stan Chart’s careers website in both markets to find out which divisions have vacancies as a percentage of the overall local jobs total.

Front-office corporate and institutional banking (CIB) constitutes 13% and 5% of Hong Kong and Singapore and roles respectively. “Hong Kong is still positive in terms of business opportunities, hence there’s front-line hiring,” says a spokesperson for the bank in Asia.

However, the vast majority of these CIB vacancies are in corporate banking (especially transaction banking) rather than in M&A, capital markets or trading. Stan Chart under Bill Winters is continuing its strategy of pivoting away from investment banking.

With 12% of total jobs, Stan Chart’s legal and compliance hiring spree – which began in 2014 – appears far from over in Singapore. The spokesperson says risk, and legal and compliance “remain a big focus” in both Singapore and Hong Kong.

“It seems to be pretty much business as usual in compliance and also in audit – Stan Chart is always hiring in these areas,” adds a recruiter in Singapore who asked not to be named.

Despite the high cost of basing IT staff in Singapore and Hong Kong, Stan Chart is “investing heavily in technology”, says the spokesperson. 23% and 19% of its Hong Kong and Singapore roles respectively are in its technology and operations department.

Recruiters with knowledge of the bank confirm that much of Stan Chart's tech hiring is for newly created jobs. “They are increasing investments in the fintech space because they have new projects to be managed and executed,” says another anonymous recruiter in Singapore.

Stan Chart is also adding new headcount to its Hong Kong private bank as it tries to capitalise on the rising wealth of “affluent mainlanders”, says the spokesperson.

Outside of technology and private banking, much of Stan Chart’s hiring is focused on replacing staff who have recently left the bank, adds the first recruiter. “A lot of the people retrenched were at a senior management level – directors and MDs. There’s been some backfilling with younger people who are cheaper and hungrier.”

He adds: “There’s also been a knock-on effect of additional people leaving due to general instability and job security fears, so some of the current vacancies are because of that. I'd expect this to increase once bonuses have been fully paid out this year.”

Image credit: KreangchaiRungfamai, iStock Editorial, Thinkstock

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