Trusted financial analysts are indispensable when it comes to making sound financial business decisions. 

With an insatiable appetite for data, this group of professionals assesses investment and risk potential and advises company leaders on market intelligence that could influence business initiatives. 

There is increasing demand for this specialty function as the region's rapidly-growing financial and capital markets experience a quick rebound. More specifically, the talent demand can be observed in wealth management, bancassurance and personal banking products, as well as insurance. 

Financial planning and analysis were among the most sought-after skills in the region. According to LinkedIn’s 2021 “Jobs on the Rise'' Southeast Asia report, jobs such as financial advisor and finance specialist are the most in-demand positions in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. In fact, Singapore’s financial sector aims to generate 6,500 new jobs to drive digital growth in 2021. Organisations in Hong Kong SAR, Asia’s tier-one financial hub and key platform for investment into Mainland China, are also on the hunt for financial analyst specialists to scale up their portfolios and drive larger earnings.

Despite the talent demand, the role of a financial analyst is one of the hardest to fill, as candidates are required to possess both strong financial analytical skills and good commercial acumen. The race for new hires is heating up as the limited talent pool means regional banks, financial institutions and companies from all sectors have to compete for exceptional financial analysts who can give them a competitive advantage.

This begs the question - what must a company do to be at the top of the talent attraction game?

Read on to learn about actionable steps that will make your company stand out and appeal to the most talented financial analysts.

how to recruit finance professionals
how to recruit finance professionals

1. offer an attractive compensation  package

Employers looking to recruit financial analysts will first have to consider the factors that are important to these professionals. 

The 2021 Randstad Employer Brand Research has done the heavy lifting by capturing employee value proposition (EVP) drivers that employees and job seekers are attracted to the most. No surprises there, an attractive salary and benefits package continues to rank as the most important EVP factor among finance professionals.  

However, competitive compensation is simply the table stakes that every employer must offer to attract the best talent. The current salary benchmark of a financial analyst with one to three years’ relevant work experience is between SGD50,000 and 80,000. The number can even reach up to a whopping SGD220,000 for those who have chalked up 10 years’ experience. 

The size of pay raises and annual bonuses also presents a fierce battlefield for many employers. HSBC’s Chief Financial Officer Ewen Stevenson has recently suggested that the lender may boost the size of its bonus pool as it endeavours to build its wealth segment in the region. Similarly, Hong Kong SAR’s CLSA Ltd is boosting the monthly paychecks of some bankers by an average of 30% to put a stop to defections following an exodus of key employees. 

To ensure they don’t lose out on top talent, employers will have to be in the know and stay competitive when it comes to remuneration for the different roles within the financial analysis function. For instance, those who specialise in corporate financing will demand a different pay grade than those in individual investment.  

2. leverage on non-monetary pull factors 

We all know that a competitive salary can pique a candidate’s interest. But it takes more than money to seal the deal. 

The 2021 Randstad Employer Brand Research revealed that non-monetary benefits such as having a good ‘work-life balance’, ‘strong management’ and ‘career progression opportunities’ are among the key pull factors for finance professionals in Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong SAR.

It is an open secret that many financial services professionals face burnout as a result of stressful schedules and long work hours. Stressed out banking professionals in Singapore and Hong Kong SAR, for example, have spoken about their struggles to manage huge offshore teams, the need for constant travel and never-ending Zoom calls. 

The research also found that 1 in 5 finance professionals in Singapore had clocked longer working hours in 2020. The survey data also suggests that resources may not be fully utilised, as some respondents reportedly worked shorter hours in the last year. The uneven distribution of work could mean that some workers are overworked while others may not have adequate skills to meet critical business needs.

Financial analysts who are overworked and looking for a way out could start looking for other employers who can offer them resources to manage their workload and help them achieve a better work-life balance.

This is where employers looking to secure top finance talent can set themselves apart from the other competitors. With the pandemic upending both life and work, employers that offer manageable work schedules and develop HR policies to support their employees attain a healthy work-life balance will appeal to competent job applicants. 

Strong management and good career advancement opportunities are also what financial analysts in the region look for in an ideal employer. The opportunity to join a company with a forward-looking management team and seniority system will prove enticing to financial analysts, as they perceive it to be a bellwether of a company’s stability, reputation and growth. 

Financial analysts wish to be recognised for the work that they have contributed to the company over the years, and the presence of career advancement paths or opportunities for upward mobility are extremely appealing to these candidates. 

A transparent and good career growth opportunity gives employees clarity on what they need to do to take on key leadership roles within the organisation. By rejuvenating their work motivation and drive, your financial analysts will also be less likely to consider a change in environment and employer.

3. creating a strong employer brand is key 

The formula for success really isn’t that complicated. Companies with both a strong corporate and employer brand have the strongest appeal to financial analysts, and are better able to establish a strong talent pipeline.  Already, multinational banks such as UBS, JP MorganChase and DBS enjoy a strong reputation for being sector leaders, and can easily attract and hire the best financial analysts across the world.

employer brand for talent acquisition
employer brand for talent acquisition

For companies with fewer resources, or are not in the financial services sector, hiring top financial analysts could pose a HR challenge. Competing on compensation packages alone is unsustainable in the long-term.

The key to success, therefore, is building a robust employer brand and corporate reputation for yourself. Take note of the EVP factors that matter to financial analysts mentioned above and use them to position your organisation as a great and dynamic place to work. In this digital and social age, it would also be prudent for HR to collaborate with Marketing and IT to cast a wider net, espouse the intangible benefits of working with your organisation, as well as champion a great candidate and employee experience. 

what are your next steps?

As the financial sector accelerates its transformation strategy, the need for financial analysis skills is set to increase. 

Amid stiffer competition in a talent-short market, an attractive remuneration package is just part of the overall employee value proposition employers must deliver on. Ultimately, the ‘softer’ benefits and a compelling employer brand will determine the winner in the war for financial analyst talent.

If you are game to take your employer brand to the next level, we are here to help. Our Employer Brand Research report provides you with the latest trends, observations and a clear vision on how you can build a strong employer brand and attract quality talent. 

get your copy of this year’s report for more insights on employer brand. Download now

Accelerate your employer branding efforts with us through our HR services and if recruiting in the financial services industry is a challenge, get in touch and learn more on our key areas of recruitment expertise in financial services.

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