Even amidst rising interest rates, inflation, and political conflicts like the Russia-Ukraine War and Israeli-Palestinian conflict, market outlook remained positive for the Philippines’ Banking & Financial Services industry.
Job flows in the sector remains fluid as the number of active job postings are of the same high level, with Samantha Cheblakian, Manager at Robert Walters Philippines, pointing out an increase in hiring for tax and corporate finance professionals. “This demand comes in part from Middle Eastern or Caribbean companies that are giving opportunities to Filipinos because they need support with new tax laws that have been implemented for a long time in the Philippines. The demand for operations professionals has also been consistent to the year prior.”
A slightly different set of circumstances emerged for the governance and front office functions as cost efficiency and revenue generation became a priority. “Many urgent roles from early in the year were subsequently put on hold or cancelled. Some companies tapped on existing talent to backfill those positions, if they did so at all. Demand was also subdued in investment banking,” discloses Sarah Bon, Manager at Robert Walters Philippines.
She adds, “However, there has been a demand for candidates to replace senior level professionals who have retired from companies that didn’t have strong succession plans in place. On the regulation side, there has been a steady demand for enterprise risk talent as companies want to make sure their risk frameworks, programs and teams are competitive,”
Many fintech and financial shared services companies also strived to achieve profitability and revenue targets, opting to grow their headcounts at a more sustainable pace. Nevertheless, some firms still contribute to hiring activities as they have established their back office operations in the Philippines.
Remote and hybrid work models became more commonplace in the industry, with recruitment processes and outcomes impacted for companies that did not embrace such work models.
Read on to find out more about Samantha and Sarah’s expectations of the labour market and hiring trends for Banking & Financial Services professionals in the Philippines in 2024.
Current economic conditions are expected to persist going into 2024, and the market will likely need to continue grappling with rising interest rates, inflation and the threat of recession. Operations roles will still be in demand, but companies are expected to negotiate harder for a better deal.
Within the compliance and front office functions, Sarah reveals that there is a larger supply of candidates than available positions. As such, companies will seek out candidates with relevant past experience and a strong track record. They will have a preference for candidates with strong project management, stakeholder management, and people management skills.
Meanwhile, there have been many senior positions open in the risk function. However, Samantha and Sarah have found that most candidates are interested in exploring a new role, stating,
There is a discrepancy between what the right candidates already earns and what the new company can offer. This impasse looks set to continue in the year ahead.
Studies have forecasted healthy growth for the digital payments segment, matching the positive investor sentiment for the fintech market in the Philippines. There will continue to be a wide range of opportunities in the market as companies tackle issues around financial inclusion. This need for the right solutions becomes even more acute as the country continues to have high rates of unbanked and underbanked citizens and rising mobile phone penetration.
Some key areas of opportunity include remittances, e-commerce, and digital payments. There will also be a rise in fintech platforms who can facilitate microloans and credit access to people who will not typically be able to qualify for loans from traditional banks.
The fintech sector will also play a larger role in providing financial literacy and education to the unbanked and underbanked population.
“Within finance and operations, the industry will seek out professionals who are experienced in investor relations, financial modelling, and capital budgeting,” says Samantha. “There will also be strong demand for process optimisation talent who can make operational processes more efficient, as well as change management professionals who can lead financial transformations and adapt to changing business needs.”
Finance and operations professionals will also stand out if they have strong verbal and written communication skills for conveying complex financial information. The industry will also prize those who have great decision making skills.
The most in-demand roles are head of operations, head of finance, and corporate finance.
“For governance and front office, companies will prioritise talent with strong people and stakeholder management skills. How they assess this is by looking at whether the candidate has built programs and processes from the ground up. Front office talent, specifically, should have worked on process improvement projects that increased business income and efficiencies,” reveals Sarah.
Governance professionals with skillsets in AML, regulatory compliance, enterprise risk, actuary, financial risk and audit model valuation will be in high demand. The most in-demand profiles for the year ahead are regulatory compliance talent with backgrounds in legal and risk, enterprise risk talent with strong backgrounds in financial risk or actuary, and auditors with strong model validation experience.
Front office professionals who are skilled in credit management, digital channels sales, relationship management for corporate banking, and product development management will also be in high demand. The roles that will be most in demand include head of credit management and retail banking, loans or lending head, and individual contributor corporate banking relationship managers.
Changing work environments and economic conditions have shifted workforce expectations and candidate motivations. Today, candidates are no longer singularly focused on one deciding factor when considering new opportunities. Samantha and Sarah list work-life balance, remote or hybrid work, job flexibility, job security and compensation as some of the factors that influence a candidate’s desire to stay in their job or look for a new one. They also add that candidates are looking for employers who invest in their professional growth and career progression.
These are all points they recommend companies review when looking to attract and retain talent in 2024.
The interview process should also be streamlined to reduce delays, so that companies can be first to secure top talent before they accept other offers. Besides speed, there should also be attention given to creating a positive candidate experience.
Candidates in the industry will be looking for salary increments of at least 20%, as well as benefits such as health maintenance organisations (HMOs) and flexible work arrangements. However, companies are expected to negotiate for rates they find more reasonable, except for niche positions and outstanding candidates with rare skillsets. In such cases, job movers may receive increments of up to 30%.
Request access to our 2024 Salary Survey to benchmark salaries and to find out more about key hiring trends for Banking & Financial Services sector in the Philippines.
Connect with us today
Banking & Financial Services, Philippines
With four years of recruitment experience, Samantha has a strong market presence in recruiting mid to senior level finance and operations roles in the Philippines.
Banking & Financial Services, Philippines
Sarah has been a recruitment specialist for over four years working with a range of organisations within the banking and financial services sector, focusing on risk management, compliance, front office, and internal audit.
Hiring in the Philippines: Guide and Trends in 2024
The Philippines’ labour and hiring landscape was influenced by growing interest from global companies looking to establish their shared service centers in the country, reflecting the country’s skilled workforce and cost effectiveness. This trend, which saw Manila and Cebu emerging as the main hubs tRead More
Hiring in Accounting and Finance: Guide and Trends in 2024
With more international borders re-opening and the resurgence of tourism in 2023, there has been a conservative uptick in hiring activity for Accounting & Finance professionals in the Philippines. Michele Manabat, Manager at Robert Walters Philippines, says that hiring within the consumer healthcareRead More
Hiring in Industrial: Guide and Trends in 2024
Industrial companies in the Philippines doubled down on expansion in 2023, through ways such as venturing into new lines of business. According to Jayson Mendoza, who oversees Robert Walters Philippines’ Human Resources and Industrial desks, the effort to decongest Metro Manila led to more constructRead More
Come join our global team of creative thinkers, problem solvers and game changers. We offer accelerated career progression, a dynamic culture and expert training.