Back to Insights
Blog Img

A look at the Current State of the Job Market

​What people are talking about:

Commonwealth Bank of Australia has hired 4 Commodity Managing Directors - Martyn Whitehead, Joe Arena, Bradley Campbell, and Yasmina Elshafei.

Investment banks such as Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley have strengthened their metals trading businesses globally to cash in on the increased volatility in the market, this follows a trend of a number of global funds looking out for metals prop traders.

Tesla is said to have held talks regarding taking a stake in Glencore earlier in the year and was looking at buying 10-20% of the company according to the Financial Times.

Larger Chinese firms and groups want to leverage their assets outside the domestic market and look for new end users and suppliers via overseas outposts. This seems to be happening across the board from agricultural groups to base metals, steel raw materials, and financial services – which does seem correlated with the weakening Yuan situation and the trend of outflowing Chinese capital.

Despite the economic sentiment, there is still a high degree of mobility between talent from China and Singapore and vice versa, with several high-profile moves from the Singapore metals and agricultural segments into China-based organizations. Coupled with the interest that we have seen from Chinese businesses looking to internationalize as above, this may be worth highlighting as a growing trend.

Feed millers looking to bring on trading talent within their procurement functions has been an ongoing trend that has taken on greater importance considering the supply situations. I would not be surprised if this trend ripples downstream toward the larger end users themselves in bringing in their own traders to cover their shorts.

What we are currently working on:

  • Coal Trader, Philippines

  • India Coal Operator, Dubai/India

  • Commodities Portfolio Manager, Singapore

  • Copper Marketer, Shanghai

  • Japanese Carbon Business Development, Singapore / Tokyo

  • Head of Metals Trading, Singapore

  • FMGC Strategic Pricing Manager, Singapore

  • Global Head of Dairy Trading, flexible location

  • Commodities Product Control, Singapore

  • Grains and Oilseeds Trader, Singapore

  • Senior Legal Counsel – Commodities, Singapore

If you are interested in any of these roles, please reach out to us via the contact details at the end of this newsletter. Alternatively, click here for more jobs.


Current State of the Job Market

As identified in our earlier updates, the metals market shows a heavy undercurrent of activity despite price volatility, with a special focus on battery materials from both primary and secondary sectors. With limited supply and volatile supply chains, securing new sources from non-traditional geographies or breaking ground on new recycling facilities (such as what Ace Green or Attero have recently done) has been at the forefront of the news.

A growing trend across the board has been for participants within the hard commodities to grow closer to their downstream users, providing more value to their semi-refined and refined metals portfolios and allowing them greater optionality in branching out into niche segments of the markets.

This macro-trend of “growing closer to the consumer” has been observed in soft and agricultural commodities industries, particularly within the more food-friendly products such as dairy and coffee. Even across raw materials, efforts to move closer to B2B consumers in the farming and manufacturing sectors have also spurred significant growth in the container-based trading of feed and feed-ingredients. Previously disregarded as being too manpower intensive, not as rewarding as trading in bulk, and incredibly niche, market conditions have evolved to such that there may be significant margins to be had in trading boxes of specialized and niche products.

The strong global impetus for renewable business activity has not only been an underlying driver of such initiatives in metals but has obviously also been impacting the energy sector. The Asian carbon sector has historically not been an area with a deep candidate pool and with the ongoing activity, demand for experienced talent has only gotten stronger.

Overall we have noted that the talent landscape in Singapore and generally in Asia has become even shallower with a severe lack of mid-senior level individuals (with most either entrenched in their positions or having recently moved). Coupled with a stricter legislative environment around the hiring of foreign manpower, it has resulted in a severe shortage of experienced individuals across the commodities sector.

This may contribute to higher inducements required to move individuals to new roles, and may also contribute to further costs in retaining talent in the following years.

  • Kenny Ives has joined IXM as the CEO in Europe, formerly of Glencore.

  • Xiao Xu has joined ANZ in a Commodity Sales role, previously with Standard Chartered Bank.

  • Peter Ma Li has joined Ningbo Huamao Group as General Manager, previously Trading Manager at Jinli.

  • Gavin Li has joined BASF in Shanghai as Head of Battery Base Metals and Recycling China, formerly of Anglo American.

  • Leon Jin has joined Radiant World as VP Iron Ore Trading in Shanghai, formerly of Trafigura.

  • Wharton Wang has joined Citibank in a Commodity Sales role, formerly of Standard Chartered Bank.

  • Xinghai Jin has joined Macquarie as VP Commodity Sales, previously a Metals Trader at Sumitomo.

  • Benjamin Loh has joined Macquarie in a Commodity Sales Role, previously a Broker at Clarksons Platou.

  • Michelle Zhang has joined Macquarie Bank as Associate Director, Commodity Clearing Sales, formerly of Societe Generale.

  • Aldrin San Juan has joined Tradeland Group as a Trader, formerly of Cemcoa.

  • Kriskorn Chindapraset has joined Tradeland Group as a Senior Trader, formerly of Siam Cement Group.

Alex Kerr
Director | Partner

+65 3165 0710

EA 18S9493 | R1328009

John O.jpg
John Ong
Associate Director

+65 3165 0710

EA 18S9493 | R1658515