Top treasury professionals can command handsome salaries, particularly in Asia where exploding growth is requiring more, and better management skills. A growing number of large firms in Asia are competing for a limited number of truly experienced and talented treasury and finance people, driving up prices.
As a specialist recruitment firm, Robert Half, is constantly asked by financial professionals across all industries what their value is. Every year we publish salary guides for professionals working in the banking, finance and accounting professions. The salary guides are based on placements made throughout locations in Asia; insights from recruiting managers; exclusive research conducted among chief financial officers (CFOs) and finance directors in Asia; as well as an analysis of current and future hiring trends.
Before we turn to the specific salary rates for corporate treasurers in Asia, which is the focus of this article, it is worth looking at the situation across the industry generally. The first thing to realise is that the finance and accounting profession is doing well despite a challenging economic climate. During times of economic change, the accounting and finance function assumes even greater importance. These teams are at the heart of an organisation’s ability to meet regulatory requirements, maintain positive cash flow, capitalise on business opportunities, deliver accurate financial records and produce insightful information for decision-making.
According to Robert Half’s research, more than half of the senior finance leaders in Singapore expect salaries to increase in the next 12 months. Among those who are planning to increase salaries, the average increase is expected to be 6% for positions within the banking and financial services sector. For accounting and finance professionals working in other industries, including treasurers, the expected salary increase is 7.5%.
Bonuses are following a similar trend. Companies that plan to increase their bonuses expect the amount paid to jump by 5.7% for employees in the banking and financial services sector, and by 8.8% for companies in other industries.
The results identify an interesting phenomenon – wages and bonuses in banking are increasing, but less quickly than those in other sectors. One of the possible reasons could be that other industries, such as oil and gas, construction and biotechnology, are currently growing faster than the finance sector, leading to an increased demand for skilled employees there, as well as a greater capacity to remunerate them.
Some of the other key trends finance professionals need to know are:
- Senior business and finance leaders remain optimistic about their organisation’s growth prospects with 89% of banking and financial services companies and 86% of companies in other industries expressing confidence in the coming year.
- Retention remains a concern, with 76% of banking and financial services leaders and 80% of those within other industries concerned about losing top performers.
- Recruitment can be problematic, with 8% of senior management in the banking sector and 88% in other sectors reporting challenges in finding skilled professionals.
These facts help explain why finance and accounting professionals, especially those in more senior roles, are commanding healthy salary increases. Now let’s focus on the treasury function, starting with employees working in banks or the financial services sector.
In 2012, the salary of a top treasury operations employee in Singapore – senior vice president (SVP) level or above – is more than S$165,000 Singaporean dollars, which is equivalent to US$135,000, a 3% increase as compared to last year. Vice President (VP) roles command S$100,000 upwards, while treasury managers earn more than S$60,000.
The salary of a SVP or managing director of treasury accounting in Singapore is over S$183,000, VP roles can command more than S$110,000, and managerial roles can earn between S$72,000 and S$120,000.
In other non-banking and finance industries, a treasury director can earn up to S$215,000, while the average salary of a treasury accountant or manager can range between S$60,000 and S$162,000.
Knowing the benchmark for salaries can help treasury professionals in several ways. First, it lets them scale the salaries of their team, keeping them in line with current market value. Second, it tells them if greener pastures await elsewhere – by moving to a company that will better remunerate their efforts.
Of course money isn’t everything. Many firms offer career advancement, overseas opportunities, as well as flexible work arrangements as a way of attracting and keeping staff. For professionals seeking a better quality of life, these options are certainly appealing.
Any discussion over pay and compensation must begin with a clear picture of what the market is willing to pay for a certain set of skills and experience. Gaining access to the most current remuneration data can help companies to set competitive pay levels, allowing employers to attract top professionals and, just as importantly, keep them on board.