Banking Salaries Slow but Fintech Looks Robust

Banking salary budget increases for 2017 are set to be well below those in the tech sector, and also below those of the financial services sector as a whole, an Asia wide survey by Willis Towers Watson shows.

With banking and financial services becoming more data and technology driven, in the competition for talent, it is technology rather than finance that increasingly holds sway.

This is where the shortage lies the pressure point that’s holding tech salaries steady across Asia while others are on the slide. As banks become more digital they are now also competing with the traditional high-tech sector players for talent.

A combination of fresh salary budget data for the coming year and industry sector feedback points to a shortage of tech talent in the financial sector, which is helping salary budgets for talent in digital roles hold steady amid broader weakness across other industries, particularly the banking sector.

Banking Falling Behind

Survey findings released by global advisory company Willis Towers Watson, drawn from its 2016 Asia Pacific Salary Budget Planning Report, show banking salary budget increases for 2017 are set to be well below those in the tech sector, and also below those of the financial services sector as a whole.

The findings show that salaries in Asia Pacific’s banking sector are set to grow by 4.8 percent in 2017, the second slowest rate of salary growth among industry sectors in the survey. Eleven of the markets in the region have banking pay increases ranked among the bottom three in cross-industry comparison.

Hong Kong Singapore Tech Salaries

Banking salaries in the financial hubs of China, Hong Kong and Singapore are projected to grow by 6.3 percent, 3.6 percent and 3.0 percent respectively in 2017, this is well below the expected high-tech salary growth rates of 7.5 percent for China and 4 percent for both Hong Kong and Singapore.

Even at mid- and senior-level positions, technology firms are increasingly attracting key talent away from the financial services industry due to less regulation and scrutiny in the high tech industry, more innovative and entrepreneurial work environments, and highly competitive total rewards packages.

Demand for Tech and Digital Talent

The need for tech and digital talent is evident elsewhere in the region across many industries. As banks move online and adopt mobile solutions, insurance companies are also adopting wearable devices and data analytics technology to tailor policies, pushing Insurtech salaries higher.

«In Silicon Valley, for example, top talent is often rewarded with equity in addition to a competitive base salary and annual bonus. It’s very compelling, to truly compete, financial services firms will need to think beyond merely using pay to attract and retain talent,» said Greg Kuczaj, Asia Pacific Head of Willis Towers Watson’s Global Financial Services practice.

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