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Singapore’s hottest finance job is running out of candidates

As ESG (environmental, social, and governance) vacancies with Singapore-based financial institutions become more plentiful, the city state is running out of candidates to fill them.

“The rise of ESG jobs here has basically been too rapid, and so the labour pool just hasn’t had time to catch up, despite more people wanting to work in the sector,” says a Singapore-based recruiter. “To be honest, we’re really struggling to find talent,” he adds.

As a rule, financial institutions have been reacting to the ESG talent crunch by hiring senior leaders from overseas, and by – wherever possible – being more flexible with junior hires. People with governance backgrounds in financial services, for example, may make suitable candidates.

Singapore-based firms have been gearing up for ESG hires as part of the government’s push for greater compliance with international environmental and sustainability standards. In July, for example, The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) issued new disclosure and reporting guidelines for retail ESG funds, partly aimed at reducing the risk of "greenwashing".

On the buy-side, Abrdn, NNIP, Nordea Asset Management, Robeco and Schroders have set up sustainability hubs in Singapore, or have announced their intention to do so, according to an MAS survey. BlackRock, Fidelity International and Fullerton now have global or Asia Pacific regional ESG heads in Singapore to “drive their sustainable investing strategies and stewardship activities”.

In banking, recent hires include Jatin Sarvaiya, who joined Standard Chartered in June as director of its net zero programme. His move follows a string of senior ESG appointments in Singapore. In March, Eleonore Dachicourt joined BNP Paribas Wealth Management as head of sustainable and responsible investments for Asia. The following month, ING named Martijn Hoogerwerf as head of sustainable finance Asia Pacific.

Last year, Citi relocated Raphael Erasmus from London to Singapore as its head of sustainability and corporate transitions for Asia Pacific. Meanwhile, Deutsche Bank is recruiting for an ESG centre of excellence in Singapore, and UOB has made several key hires in 2022, including recruiting Melissa Moi in January from Bank of America as head of sustainable business.

Photo by Zarah V. Windh on Unsplash

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AUTHORSimon Mortlock Content Manager

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