Regardless of market uncertainty, there are several reasons why banks in Asia should keep hiring. And they are....
Matthew Hoyle, Asia Pacific director of headhunter Matthew Hoyle International, says: "There is still a tremendous shortage in the five to nine years' experience bracket across nearly all divisions, due to SARS and the Asian Crisis. No one was trained and hardly anyone hired during that period."
Mainland Chinese banks have huge expertise shortages, says Hoyle. After buying large chunks of international bulge-bracket firms over the last 24-36 months, he expects their thirst for expertise to increase further this year. He says: "Due to unhappiness with bonuses at some of the bulge brackets, you might see Westerners moving into some of the large Chinese banks for the first time this year."
New emerging markets
May Tung, lead consultant in Hong Kong at search firm Russell Reynolds, says Asia is still a growing market. Together with China, and India, she predicts that newer emerging markets, such as Vietnam, will see banks and other financial institutions looking to hire experienced talent with local language skills.
Morgan Stanley has just signed a joint venture in Vietnam, for example.
Whilst restrictions remain on foreign banks operating in China, Tung says that as regulatory liberalisation occurs, there will be more joint ventures.
Reuters reports that Barclays president Bob Diamond sees tougher market conditions as an opportunity for its investment banking arm to grow and invest. JPMorgan's Asia Pacific chief operating officer Roy Kinnear expects to see double-digit percentage growth in staff numbers in Hong Kong and Asia up to 2011, and both Credit Suisse and UBS have announced new hires in Asia.