Analysis: The Growing Demand for Business Project Managers in Banking and Finance | Kerry Consulting

    Analysis: The Growing Demand for Business Project Managers in Banking and Finance

    Shereen Tan
    Shereen Tan

    In this article, Shereen Tan, Associate Director for Kerry Consulting’s Financial Services Practice, addresses the growing demand for project management resources in Singapore’s banking and financial institutions.

    In today’s complex business environment, project managers must keep up with rapid changes and ever-shifting strategies. In a fast-changing macroeconomic environment, strategy and project transformation is playing an important role in organisations. As companies innovate and transform to adapt to this new normal, the demand for future-focused transformation leaders and professionals continues to soar.

    In 2020, at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, demand for in-house project management roles increased significantly. This is due to the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) awarding digital banking licenses to four banks in Singapore. As a result, we witnessed traditional banks beefing up their technology functions, in turn leading to an increase in demand for project managers who can act as conduits to deliver necessary change.

    The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated digital transformation at 59% of organisations we surveyed, and 66% say they have been able to complete initiatives that previously encountered resistance. This data was recently collected from US executives, yet the evidence confirms that this is a global trend also perceptible in Singaporean businesses.

    Executives are placing more trust in the capabilities that modern technology affords their businesses, and they are pushing ahead with digital transformation. According to senior executives, investment in technology is a key component in their COVID-19 recovery strategies. The benefits of a strong technological foundation have become more broadly embraced across organisational leadership.

    Talent Crunch in Business Project Management

    Project managers organise and operationalise the project management office that acts as a custodian of value and delivery for the bank. They are the key bridge between the business users and technology.

    Project managers who have solid experience in both business/corporate functions with an ability to concurrently manage projects, people and technology are in short supply. The question then beckons: what can organisations do to secure this talent?

    Proactive Engagement on the Strategy and Project Initiatives Undertaken by the Organisation During the Interview Process

    Candidate experience is extremely important in the hiring process. Interviewers should share the project pipeline and proposed continuity/extension of the candidate’s role after the successful completion of the project they were hired for. In most instances, candidates are getting to know more about the organisation and the hiring team through the interview process. The vision and the mission of the organisation is what attracts these candidates as they would like to add value and contribute to the buoyancy and success of the transformation.

    Training and Investment for Existing Employees

    On-the-job upskilling is certainly valuable, but off-site educational resources and training opportunities are another way to empower employees and illuminate their career path within the organisation. Reinvesting in employees is a tangible and effective method by which an employer can show recognition of the staff member’s contribution.

    In line with this, employees should, where possible, be given fluid internal mobility. By allowing staff to work cross-functionally and experience the working methodologies of other departments, they will be equipped with a wider range of knowledge and gain a greater understanding of the inner workings of the organisation.

    Conclusion

    In candidate-driven markets, like the one we are currently experiencing, investment, retention, speed, and timeliness are paramount for securing and retaining strong talent.

    Acquiring and, more importantly, keeping talent amid the highly competitive conditions that we currently see in Singapore is no easy feat. But by combining the right acquisition and retention methods, and engaging with a suitably qualified recruitment consultancy, there is no reason why banks and finance institutions can’t fulfill their project management hiring mandates quickly and efficiently.

    Shereen Tan is an Associate Director in Kerry Consulting’s Financial Services Practice, focusing on Finance, Operations and Project Management. Prior to joining Kerry Consulting, Shereen was with an International Recruitment firm for 10 years based in Hong Kong and Singapore, recruiting within the Finance, Operations, Project Management and Consulting space. 

     If you would like to reach out to Shereen for a confidential conversation on your hiring strategy she can be contacted at shereen@kerryconsulting.com

    Shereen Tan

    Shereen Tan

    Associate Director - Finance, Operations and Project Management

    Associate Director - Finance, Operations and Project Management