Hiring in Banking and Financial Services: Candidate-driven market to drive up salaries in sector

Alejandro Perez-Higuero, Director at Robert Walters Philippines

The Philippines’ banking and financial services industry saw strong hiring activity in 2022 as countries emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic and economic activity inches towards pre-pandemic levels.

There was an exceptional demand for professionals who can manage technology and business-centric functions for consumer and fintech products, says Alejandro Perez-Higuero, Director of Robert Walters Philippines.

Due to the inflation, the salary expectations of the candidates have increased to 30%-50%. Therefore, companies are now stretching their internal equity just to be competitive in the market. And if inflation continues to happen, employers will find the compensation they offer will be worth less and less in terms of purchasing power for employees, “he cautions.

Companies were also increasingly on the lookout for candidates with extensive experience and less for potential. As a result, companies took more time in the recruitment and interviewing process, shares Alejandro.

In 2022, we have noticed many counteroffers as companies competed to retain skilled talent. “Companies became very generous and creative when it comes to counteroffers - giving higher salaries, regional promotions, and more flexible work arrangements,” he adds.

Read on as Alejandro shares his expectations of the labour market and hiring trends for banking and financial services professionals in 2023.

Strong demand for hybrid skills and international experience

In 2023, there will be an increase in hiring demand for front-office roles in the areas of wealth management, credit management, product development and research. Demand for candidates who can fill technology and business in consumer and fintech will remain high.

“There will also be usual demand for governance hiring, especially for senior positions in the areas of operational risk, credit risk, regulatory compliance, AML/financial crime, IT compliance, and audit,” says Alejandro.

For finance, candidates with corporate finance or planning profiles such as financial reporting, M&A, and investor relations will be sought after.

He attributes the hiring demand to the gradual recovery of from the pandemic. “The country’s economy is expected to surpass pre-pandemic output levels in 2023. Together with the increase of banks and financial institutions in the Philippines, demand will continue for these roles.”

Many companies will also be on the lookout for professionals with international market experience or Balikbayan, Filipinos returning to the Philippines. “Those with seasoned experienced from larger financial hubs will be in high demand because they have a lot to offer in managing complex and diverse projects,” says Alejandro.

Advice on attracting and retaining talent

When asked how companies can retain and recruit employees amid higher staff turnover rates and the emergence of quiet quitting, Alejandro believes quiet quitting has always existed but has been thrown into great prominence after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As a start, he recommends companies consider offering flexible work arrangements such as remote work, flexible hours, compressed work weeks, or fortnightly work options given that the motivation of the candidates have changed significantly over the past few months and years, he shares.

Secondly, companies will need to ensure compensation and benefits offered are competitive and within the market range. Managers who are unable to stretch or increase salaries can attempt to offer sign-on bonuses or competitive annual bonus schemes.

Regularly assess internal career progressions and opportunities, as many employees switch jobs when they feel stagnant, and their jobs are no longer aligned with their long-term career goals.

There are increased expectations for training and upskilling for both existing employees and potential hires. “Companies can look out for transferrable skills and offer opportunities for internal transfers. They can also offer upskilling and providing free certifications,” he adds.

Candidate-driven market to boost salary increment expectations

In 2023, candidates will be expecting significant increases of 30-50% in compensation.

Find out more

Request access to our 2023 Salary Survey to benchmark salaries and to find out more about the latest hiring and talent trends in the Banking and Financial Services industry in the Philippines.