The market for IT audit jobs in Asia Pacific is undoubtedly candidate-driven, not least because the competition for this professional skillset is so highly in demand across several sectors of business. As demands from regulators increase and the threat of cyber-attacks weaves itself firmly into everyday reality, case in point the recent global ransomware attack, those individuals skilled in areas of compliance, audit and risk are suddenly faced with a whole host of career options.
Within the financial services sector in particular, the call for IT auditors with in-depth technical knowledges traverses the traditional role to seep into areas of compliance, risk and cybersecurity. Thus competition between employers has intensified in response to an increase of vacancies on the boards across more areas of the banking sector, making the hiring process significantly more challenging. Banks across the APAC region as well as other financial services firms in need of qualified professionals are therefore introducing more opportunities for training and development in order to progress, for example, a systems engineer or network analyst towards a role in IT Audit.
When it comes to sourcing roles in IT audit employers are looking for technical aptitude, strong technical people who really know IT. Bringing that in-depth knowledge and experience of software such as Tableau and Spotfire as someone with a data, networks or infrastructure background will serve as a solid platform for companies to extract your talent.
The need for technical expertise alone however is not the only skill high on the priority list for hiring managers, who are looking for candidates with strong commercial experience, likely gleaned from working in-house in the IT audit function. So, while those coming from the Big Four, for example, are certainly viable options for IT Audit jobs, it is those candidates with the credible commercial understanding who have the advantage with employers. In addition to commercial awareness, employers are also looking for candidates with strongly developed stakeholder management skills, excellent communication and project management expertise to field the demand from project audit requirements across the banking and financial services industry.
Those with experience in project audit and third party audits, associated with banking Apps, are also in high demand. Experience in quality assurance and best practice for IT audit projects delivered on time and within budget is a key skill required within the financial services sector, in addition to data analytics and modelling skills. In terms of language requirements from companies across the Asia Pacific region, while English is still the most popular, Mandarin has risen above Cantonese for many banking, client-facing and IT jobs in Hong Kong, while Japanese and Korean are also notable on employer’s must-have lists in light of continuing good performance from these regional markets.
In an era of global, remote workforces also are a new normal and one many businesses are relying on in the face of talent shortages and visa restrictions. Thus the outsourcing of work is becoming more commonplace as companies opt to collaborate with different entities and different countries to get the job done as opposed to bring in foreign workers. Singapore especially is leaning on remote workers, as is Malaysia, due to a heavy percentage of their businesses struggling to find the relevantly skilled employees they need. The availability of local professionals willing to work as software engineers in Singapore is very limited, so for start-ups particularly, unable to lure the right candidates away from their government jobs and roles at big companies, and with foreign talent that much harder to acquire, remote options must be considered.
Of course there are challenges with hiring remotely, more so for start-ups whom candidates may deem unstable compared with larger corporations and lacking in brand recognition to attract new hires. Not to mention issues of trust around sourcing and hiring people based on paper and online interview, as well as resources spent on the hiring process. However, the benefits can outweigh the “costs” from a business perspective to strengthen a business by working across borders to utilise the necessary talent, particularly when the specific expertise required is hard to find.