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Guest Comment: Why you must NOT maximise your comp during the first 10 years of your career

Having recovered quickly from the global financial crisis, the banking industry in China has again entered a prosperous period. More and more foreign banks are aggressively expanding and competing for talent, not only in first-tire cities, but also in second- and third-tier ones.

According to the latest Hudson Report for China, the banking and financial services industry is experiencing the greatest difficulty in finding talented candidates, with 85 per cent of respondents saying hiring is harder than a year ago.

In addition, 62 per cent mention candidates’ demands for substantial pay increases as a reason for their recruitment difficulties. In the current job market, good candidates always have a variety of attractive options, so they are becoming increasingly demanding when negotiating remuneration packages. The quickest salary increase often comes simply via job hopping.

Plan you career path properly; don’t just move for more money

But despite the fact that we’re in a candidate-friendly job market, my advice is that you should not focus on making the most money you can during the first 10 years of your career. Instead, this decade should be about developing expertise, expanding networks and accumulating professional experience.

Changing jobs indiscreetly just for more money will ultimately be more of a loss than a gain to you. You will lose opportunities for learning, demonstrating your capabilities to others, and realising your potential. And eventually, it will become a stumbling block on your career path because loyalty and stability are highly valued by employers looking for senior executives.

To maximise earning power and gain job satisfaction, you need to take a long-term approach and proactively plan your career. If you’re starting out in the workforce, seeking new challenges, or just wanting to improve your performance, career planning will help identify potential career options and establish new goals.

It involves three-steps:

1) Self-evaluation. Assess your strengths and weaknesses, your long-term promotion prospects, your market worth, and your employer’s training and development programmes.

2) Set your long-term goals. Ask yourself: What do you want from a role? Job security? Status? Title? Responsibility? Think long term. Don’t take a job just for the money, consider company reputation, career paths, training, and international exposure.

3) After defining your goals, make plans to overcome any career path blockages and then undergo training or development to move your career forward.

You should develop both hard skills and soft skills. As a banking professional, hard skills include: product knowledge, market knowledge, professional certifications, academic qualifications, and technical skills.

And soft skills include: industry networks, leadership/management ability, bilingual and cross-cultural communication, strategic thinking, business acumen, decision making, and problem solving.

I’m quite sure that if you plan the first 10 years of your career correctly and don’t focus purely on money, financial rewards will come later on.

Cherol Cheuk, general manager, Hudson Shanghai

Comments (1)

  1. True. This happened to me. Now I am out of a job.

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