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23 Mar

Why Business Mandarin is Critical in the Banking Industry

Photo by Adeolu Eletu on Unsplash

If you’re a finance professional in Singapore and you speak business-level Mandarin, you are now more sought after than ever. Demand for Mandarin skills is rapidly increasing as mainland wealth flows into Singapore and Chinese firms expand within the Republic. But not enough Singaporeans know Mandarin well enough to land a job that requires regular communication with Chinese clients and colleagues.

“There’s a significant shortage of business-level Mandarin-speaking talent in Singapore. While most local finance professionals are proficient in simplified Chinese, they’re not able to fit into roles that require business Mandarin,” says Deepika Devarajan, team manager of banking and financial services at Hays. “They often struggle with jargon or translating technical terms from English to Mandarin,” she adds.

Former private banker Liu San Li, who now works as a recruiter, says Singaporeans of Chinese descent typically can’t converse in Mandarin without having to inject English into the conversation. Their ability to write in business-standard Chinese also lets them down. “It’s difficult to find people who can both read and write well. A lack of self-confidence or an unwillingness to go the extra mile to polish their language skills is also holding people back,” he adds.

“We see the need for Mandarin in roles such as marketing, client servicing, sales and fund raising, and investment analysts, both on the private and public side,” she adds. There are an increasing number of relationship manager roles for Mandarin speakers in both private and corporate banking as banks onboard more Chinese clients, says Devarajan from Hays.

Bank of China and other mainland banks are also hiring in Singapore. Their commodities and trading businesses are a particular focus, and there are vacancies in fields such as relationship management, trading, compliance, technology, and operations, says Marie Tay, managing director of The Resolute Hunter. Tech giants Tencent, Alibaba and ByteDance are all hiring in Singapore as they use the city state as a beachhead for expansion across Southeast Asia.

Mandarin is a requirement for some of their roles, especially those involving interaction with colleagues in China. “They’re competing with the banks and multinational companies for top talent in Singapore,” says Tay. Recruiters say that having business-level Mandarin on your CV can help you secure an above-average pay rise of 20% or more when you change jobs. A typical increase for non-technology roles in the finance sector is about 10%.

Article adapted from “It’s super challenging”: Banks in Singapore struggle to hire Mandarin speakers by efinancialcareers

If you are working in the banking industry or are keen to embark in a career in financial services, picking up and excelling in Business Mandarin will be a tremendous asset in your marketability. SCCIOB offers a suite of Business Mandarin courses to help you hone your Business Mandarin skills for the financial sector.

To find out more about our programmes, call us at 63341080, fill out our enquiry form or drop us an email at info@scciob.edu.sg

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Why Business Mandarin is Critical in the Banking Industry

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