Hiring activity within commercial industries of the Finance & Accounting space has generally been cautious in Q1 2017. Several of Singapore’s traditionally key sectors such as Shipping, Manufacturing and Construction have been static in recent times, and this has had a significant impact on the job market.
Finance & Accounting professionals in these traditional sectors have taken a careful approach to their job search, often preferring to see how the year develops from an economic perspective before committing to a career move. On the contrary, in the first few months of 2017, we have seen other sectors experiencing strong growth in Singapore and consistently demanding for Finance & Accounting talent.
The hunt for fundraising and investor relations talent
In Q1 2017, Singapore continued to become the Southeast Asia hub for e-Commerce and IT start-ups, favoured for generous funding by Private Equities, Venture Capitalists and government grants. We have seen an increased demand for strong mid-management level Finance professionals to help with fundraising and manage investor relations. These professionals are scarce in the market, and we have seen such professionals receiving handsome offers.
Demand for FP&A professionals continued to grow
At the start of 2017, we have observed a subdued talent demand in Oil & Gas, Engineering and Construction sectors, as well as other heavy industries. Hiring of Finance professionals in these sectors has been mainly for replacement roles, and the lack of hiring activity led to a surplus of senior professionals. However, we have seen a positive demand for Financial Planning & Analysis (FP&A) professionals. There was a shortage of FP&A talent in these sectors, especially for those who could be strong commercial partners. This FP&A pool of talent saw a further contraction as a large number of these talent from heavy industries were looking for a change of sector.
With the changing economic landscape in China impacting exports around the region, we have seen a similarly subdued trend in talent demand with Shipping, Freight and Logistics. Manufacturing, however, seemed to pick up in terms of hiring activity as we saw a demand for professionals with cost accounting experience who could take charge of cost management and provided oversight of the manufacturing facilities across Asia Pacific.
Information Technology & Telecommunication (IT&T) industry has been relatively buoyant, though we have seen that most hiring activities were due to attrition rather than new headcounts being created. We have seen, as with other industries, transactional accounting roles being moved to lower-cost locations, and many of the senior regional roles being offshored to other locations in Southeast Asia. We also observed that IT&T hiring managers had a demand for FP&A specialists with commercial finance experience or contract negotiations. As technology advanced, hiring managers continued seeking Finance professionals who could contribute to change management and finance transformation, for example, in the implementation of financial process automation.
Management layers thinning
In the past months, we saw a continuous hiring trend in Pharma, Healthcare and Medical Devices industries, although in these industries we also saw instances of regional layers being removed and a higher demand for country-focused roles in Southeast Asia destinations with lower business costs.
We also saw Media, Legal and FMCG sectors actively hiring Finance professionals, as organisations looked to establish regional head offices in Singapore. As with other sectors, FP&A talent remained desirable in FMCG, particularly those who could assist the business in driving revenue and cost-saving initiatives. Finance hiring in Retail remained slow, and we have seen significant downsizing activity of Retail finance teams.
Q2 2017 will be an interesting time for Finance talent
In recent times, within large organisations and across all sectors, we have been seeing an upward trend of contract hiring. We expect to see this trend to continue into the foreseeable future, as companies recognise the benefits of a flexible workforce.
Moving into the quarter ahead, a period which has always been the busiest time of the year for recruitment, we expect an optimistic hiring outlook across the board for Finance & Accounting professionals, despite a cautious bearing in the market. Most professionals who have received their bonuses and annual salary reviews will be open to seek new opportunities. We also expect to see hiring activities increasing, with new headcounts being approved and hiring managers being eager to fill these and also replacement headcounts.
Finance & Accounting
Salary Report for Q2 2017*
Commerce & Industry
Years of experience
Annual salary range (S$)
Audit / Internal Control
Head of Audit
Senior Audit Manager
Internal Audit Manager
Regional Financial Controller
Finance / Accounting Manager
Accounts Payable / Accounts Receivable Accountant
Up to 8 years
Senior Management Accountant
Planning & Analysis
Head of Planning & Analysis
Financial Planning & Analysis
Senior Financial Analyst
Vice President / Head of Tax / Tax Director
Tax Accountant / Senior Accountant
Head of Treasury
*Notes about salary table:
Titles and levels vary from organisation to organisation.
The salary ranges given are only approximate guides. For tailored salary advice, please contact us directly.
12-month base salaries are assumed.
All other benefits and bonuses are in addition to these figures.
Bonus ranges can vary significantly from company to company and will be influenced by market conditions, business and individual performances. Bonus ranges from 1 month at the low end to 100%+ at the upper.
Holiday entitlements range from 12–25 days with senior executives not usually receiving less than 18 days. Less than 15 is very rare and 20 days is becoming the norm.
Healthcare policies are standard.
Pension plans vary with some companies offering greater than the standard contribution. Top up schemes can increase employer contribution levels as much as 15– 20% of the base salary for senior executives.