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Big Four Singapore salary hikes dwarfed by those at big banks

The Big Four audit firms have given many of their Singapore employees above-average salary rises this year, but they are slightly late to the party. Banks and tech firms in the country have been boosting pay, especially for new joiners, since the middle of last year, when the supply of local talent failed to keep pace with a dramatic rebound in recruitment.

Bloomberg reports that PwC and Deloitte increased Singapore base salaries starting from July 1. Ernst & Young had an off-cycle pay adjustment in April and may have another. In May, KPMG said it will lift entry-level salaries by as much as 20%, along with providing “market-competitive bonuses”. Deloitte, too, is focusing its increases on junior positions, with base salaries for associates rising by S$500 to S$3,500 per month.

But in the banking sector, if you’re applying for a new job – even a relatively junior one – a 20% uplift could be on the low side. For tech and relationship manager roles in particular, banks have been handing out hefty double-digit increases for at least 12 months.

Chronic talent shortages in wealth management and technology mean that candidates in these job sectors routinely receive 30%-plus pay rises, no matter which financial institution they’re joining, Singapore-based recruiters told an eFinancialCareers round table held earlier this month.

For other roles, while pay-inflation pressure still exists, different firms are responding to it in different ways. Some are still “almost paying anything” to secure good talent, while others have capped salary rises to “only” 20% this year to avoid new recruits earning substantially more than current staff, a delegate told the round table.

It may be a while before talent shortages and pay inflation start to ease in Singapore. Although recruiters say obtaining Employment Passes for overseas candidates is easier than it was last year, the comparison is from a low base and local candidates are still preferred.  

“I've seen a lot of 30% pay rises in tech this year, more than has ever happened before. Not everybody gets these, but for top talent it seems to be easier than before,” said a recruiter at the round table. “But up until very recently, some of that had to do with the crypto industry, because these firms were able to really pay up for top tech talent. Now that crypto hiring has fallen in recent weeks, that may bring down the percentages a little bit,” she added.

Photo by Wayne Chan on Unsplash

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AUTHORSimon Mortlock Content Manager

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