“It’s strictly 9 to 6”: technologists at Singapore banks say they have it easy
Banking technologist in Singapore have a plethora of jobs options outside the finance sector as the likes of Alibaba and Amazon expand their local operations. But for some, the hours in banking are too good to contemplate leaving.
“I work in the core engineering department and usually log in around 9:30am and log off around 7:00pm, with night calls sometimes. I don’t feel I’m working too hard and I sometimes feel I’m in my comfort zone now,” says a VP-level developer at a global bank in Singapore. “I’m usually not required to log in during the weekend unless there are production issues,” he says, adding that he enjoys a “good work-life balance” and isn’t contemplating moving because it would be hard for another firm to offer him shorter hours.
A senior product engineer at a European bank says he usually works eight hours a day. “I try to keep it strictly 9am to 6pm with a lunch break,” he says. His bank often does its product releases at weekends, typically between 10pm and 6am, but the engineer receives time off in lieu if he works these shifts. It’s not always an easy ride, however. “During a November rollout I worked like hell, usually from 10am to 3am for a month!”
Most technologists now have the option of working at least partly in the office as Singapore continues to experience low levels of Covid infections. An equities developer at a US bank, however, says she’s chosen to remain working from home mainly because she doesn’t enjoy having to wear a mask in the workplace, which is a legal requirement in Singapore. She starts at 9.30am, finishes at 6pm or 7pm, but then takes part in an hour-long global video call at 9pm on some nights.
The developer says the increase in remote working during the pandemic has prompted her bank to help its technologists set better boundaries between their work and personal lives. A few months ago, for example, team management started to cut back on 9pm calls on Thursdays and Fridays. If anyone in her Singapore team has to unavoidably dial into late-night discussions three days in a row, the bank will ask an India-based employee to take the next call.
“When you see policies like this, you get encouraged and want to go the extra mile for the bank. Covid has triggered more conversations around working hours and work-life balance. The idea in my team is that nobody gets overwhelmed,” says the developer.