2014 pay rises likely to be mild for finance and banking staff

Professionals in banking and financial services should not get too hopeful about receiving big pay rises next year, suggests a survey released earlier this month. -- ST ILLUSTRATION: MIEL
Professionals in banking and financial services should not get too hopeful about receiving big pay rises next year, suggests a survey released earlier this month. -- ST ILLUSTRATION: MIEL

Global economy woes prompt firms to be more conservative: Survey

Professionals in banking and financial services should not get too hopeful about receiving big pay rises next year, suggests a survey released earlier this month.

Pay hikes are likely to be more moderate than they were this year, given uncertainty over the global economy, said human resource consultancy Towers Watson.

It predicts that salaries in the sector here could rise by 4.1 per cent next year, lower than the 4.5 per cent increment seen this year.

Towers Watson said financial institutions are preparing more conservative budgets for wage rises next year due to continuing concerns in the world economy.

Human resource challenges facing the industry could also limit any upside in pay hikes, as companies come under greater political pressure due to perceptions of excessive pay.

Towers Watson's survey of 45 financial services firms here with more than 33,000 workers found, however, that 2013 is turning out to be a better year than initially thought.

The 4.5 per cent actual increase in financial industry wages is above the 4.1 per cent estimate.

The figure is also an improvement from the 3.9 per cent hike seen last year, thanks to increasing stability in the industry, which has overcome the shock of the 2008 global financial crisis.

Staff in the investment banking segment are the biggest beneficiaries, with pay rising 9.9 per cent this year compared with the same period last year.

They are followed by employees in asset-based finance (7 per cent), retail banking (6.6 per cent), global transaction services (6.2 per cent) and corporate banking (6.1 per cent).

Mr Sean Darilay, Towers Watson's global data services practice leader for South-east Asia, said: "Good business performance in these areas and ongoing regulatory changes impacted pay positioning."

Financial advisers saw the biggest salary hikes of 13.4 per cent this year compared with last year. Hot on their heels are institutional custody and trust services professionals, who saw good gains of 12.4 per cent.

"This is related to ongoing regulatory reviews around financial advisory roles and the

strong performance of Singapore as a leading global transaction centre in the last year," added Mr Darilay.

Recruitment firm Robert Half's salary guide for professionals in the banking and financial services industry, meanwhile, shows employees in the sector can expect a pay rise of up to 5 per cent this year. Those who switch jobs, however, can receive up to 10 per cent salary increments.

Robert Half Singapore director Stella Tang said: "The growing Asian banks are the most active in the job market this year...

"In 2014, we expect Asian banks to continue to recruit new employees as they expand both the breadth and depth of their services."

feimok@sph.com.sg