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DBS's new report shows the people most likely to change jobs.

DBS’ issues with young employees, men, and Hong Kongers

DBS has trouble keeping young people, men, and Hongkongers.

The Singaporean bank’s full year results aren’t just about financial performance – they’re also an insight into the bank’s health, culture, and sustainability. That includes its (voluntary) attrition rate – the rate at which people leave the bank, usually due to a job opening or offer elsewhere.

The rate of attrition is notoriously high in the city-state, with HRinAsia estimating that in 2019, banks were struggling to grapple with a turnover rate of up to 30%. Reducing that to – say, Deutsche Bank’s 8% - would save the a bank somewhere around $100m in annual recruitment, training, and operational costs.

DBS’ attrition by location was the most interesting variable. This week's results reveal that the bank enjoyed relatively low (and very stable) attrition in China ex-Hong Kong, but that in Singapore and Hong Kong attrition varied hugely through the pandemic – with Hong Kong especially being exceptionally high last year.

Attrition by gender was also very stratified, with men significantly more likely to leave their jobs than women. It’s hard to tell exactly why, but in many jurisdictions, women are more loyal employees than men.

Age, however, is the most important predictor of turnover at DBS. Figures from the bank show that the younger you are, the more likely you are to leave your job.

The implication is that if DBS could persuade more young male employees in Hong Kong to stick around, it would be doing well.  

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AUTHORZeno Toulon

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