Standard Chartered just made Singapore’s hottest job market even hotter

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Standard Chartered’s announcement this week that it’s building a foreign exchange e-trading engine in Singapore will bolster an already hot job market for Java developers.

Stan Chart would not comment on its hiring plans, but technology recruiters in Singapore expect the bank to take on more developers ahead of the FX engine’s launch in the first quarter of next year. These new hires are likely to include Java programmers, because FX platforms at banks are typically built in Java.

The Stan Chart decision comes just weeks after UBS and Citi also revealed plans to build similar Singapore-based FX systems, which are designed to reduce the costly millisecond delays currently caused by routing trades via Tokyo or London.

Although Stan Chart will likely transfer existing staff onto the FX project, its external hiring will add to the developer skill shortages facing financial institutions in Singapore. The Monetary Authority of Singapore is encouraging big players in the FX sector to build trading systems locally, and it expects six to eight more firms, including non-banks and multi-dealer platforms, to do so in the near future, according to Bloomberg.

Stan Chart may have to pay top dollar to hire developers for its FX engine. As we reported last month, job hopping is becoming more common in the FX technology sector because Java developers now have more opportunities and are being “tempted to move with very attractive salary increases”, says Adam Davies, lead IT recruiter at iKas International. Pay rises of about 20% are common, say recruiters. A VP-level Java developer currently earning S$153k could land a salary of about S$184k (US$130k) if they move, according to our technology salary table, which was compiled from recruiter surveys.

“There’s great demand for Java developers right now, and some jobs are already hard to fill such as those demanding hands-on experience with Java and big data systems,” says April Jimenez, a senior consultant at recruiters Huxley in Singapore. “The Java developers who are given a higher salary package are those who are equally skilled in another language,” she adds. 

If you get a technology job on Stan Chart’s FX engine, you’ll be tasked with helping the bank to trade 130 currencies and more than 5,000 currency pairs in spot, forward, swaps, non-deliverable forwards and options, as well as commodities e-trading for both precious and base metals. The firm already has e-trading systems in London, New York, and Tokyo. “Singapore continues to be the major FX hub in the world. E-trading take-up rates are very high amongst our clients; we have seen our FX e-trading volumes grow by 40% year on year,” Michele Wee, head of financial markets Singapore, said in a Stan Chart press release.

Image credit: TkKurikawa, Getty

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