Are you a student or new graduate in Singapore or Hong Kong? Do you want to have a US$100k banking job as soon as possible?
We’ve scoured the salary guides of recruiters Hays, Michael Page, Morgan McKinley and Robert Walters to find out how many years it typically takes Hong Kong and Singapore banking professionals in 10 key job functions to land a US$100k base salary (S$136k, HK$775k). Salaries difference between the two cities aren’t substantive at this level, so the chart below applies to them both.
Sources: Hays, Michael Page, Morgan McKinley, Robert Walters
While the chart only provides an approximate guide (recruitment firms provide broad pay ranges), it does help to explain why top graduates in Asia are still pulled towards investment banking. Despite jobs cuts in advisory functions in Hong Kong and Singapore, the salaries on offer still beat those in more buoyant sectors like corporate banking. It could take as little as two years, the end point of many graduate trainee programmes, to crack the US$100k mark in ECM, DCM and M&A. Banks in Asia are still prepared to retain their best junior front-office talent with hefty salaries, especially as competition for China-focused, Mandarin-speaking analysts and associates heats up in Hong Kong.
Traders and researchers in Hong Kong and Singapore usually have to wait four years to hit six figures, while it can take a full five years in risk and compliance. Opportune moves between banks could speed up your quest for more money in the middle office, however – new employers are prepared to raise salaries by 20% or more because of ongoing talent shortages.
Although the private banking sector in Asia is desperately short of relationship managers (RMs), it doesn’t provide a quick route into well-paid roles. Private banks primarily want to recruit and retain senior bankers with bulging books of clients – there’s less incentive to reward juniors, who often work in assistant RM roles for several years.
Internal auditors are among the most sought after professionals in Asian banking right now, but their cost-centre status means it takes them about six years to cross the US$100k threshold.