x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Survey says Singapore will lead world in creating financial jobs

The UAE's emerging markets rivals are expected to outperform it when it comes to job creation in the financial services sector, according to a new poll.

A new poll has found that the UAE's financial services sector is expected to lag emerging-market rivals in job creation.

Singapore is expected to lead the world in creating financial services jobs during the next 12 months, according to a poll of 297 bankers and hedge-fund staff in London conducted by Astbury Marsden, a recruitment company.

In the survey, conducted at the end of March, 37 per cent of respondents expected Singapore to create the largest number of jobs in financial services during the year, ahead of London, where 22 per cent thought the largest number of jobs would be created.

Asia fared well, with 19 per cent of respondents saying Shanghai would create the largest number of jobs and 17 per cent saying Hong Kong would be the jobs leader.

The UAE had a poor showing, with just 4 per cent of respondents saying the largest number of banking jobs would be created in the Emirates.

But Wall Street fared even worse, with 1 per cent saying New York would create the largest number of jobs.

A climate of banker bashing in the UK was driving more and more companies to Asia, said Mark Cameron, the chief operating officer of Astbury Marsden.

"Cities close to emerging markets are at the forefront of the global expansion in financial services," he said.

"It is clear that Singapore is winning business that used to be done in London."

However, in spite of "high GDP per capita and well-run government, the UAE is historically a challenging place for western financial services firms to do business", Mr Cameron said. "As such, there are comparatively better prospects presented in the emerging markets of the East."

A wave of job cuts has occurred in the UAE's financial services sector since the start of last month, with HSBC, Barclays Bank and Shuaa Capital reducing staff numbers in the country, even as other sectors resume hiring.

The Monster Employment Index showed that the number of positions in UAE finance and accounting advertised online fell 22 per cent in the six months between October and March, the biggest decrease among all occupations in the Emirates surveyed by the online recruitment website.

ghunter@thenational.ae