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Foreign firms keep on hiring in Q2 and beyond

Anyone keeping tabs on recruitment in China’s banking sector would have noticed a range of new hiring announcements from foreign banks this quarter, with several firms planning to create hundreds of new jobs as they expand their networks across the country.

Singaporean bank DBS, for example, said last month that it would make 200 hires in China – with more than half of the recruits for client-facing roles in priority banking – to keep up with manpower requirements as it opens new branches. Meanwhile, ANZ has revealed it is planning to employ up to 500 additional staff before the end of 2011.

These examples are backed up by a recent report by recruitment firm Hudson, which found that 69 per cent of respondents in the Chinese financial services sector expect to increase headcount in Q2. The figure for he previous quarter was 58 per cent.

The current hiring drive is driven mainly by government regulation, with a number of foreign lenders being given the go-ahead by mainland authorities to expand their operations in China, according to May Tung, managing director for Asia Pacific financial services practices at search firm DHR International.

Much of the increase is in wealth management, a comparatively new sector in China, which is being spearheaded by foreign banks, says Tung. She expects growth in wholesale banking jobs to be slower because many international firms have already established some operations in the mainland.

“Especially with something like wealth management, I would expect the top banks that already have some presence in Asia to come into China and expand their presence. That would mean hiring new people. What I am less sure of are banks which have no presence anywhere in Asia. Even though China is a very attractive market, it would take more time for them to decide whether they want to be here,” says Tung.

Helene Krieff, managing partner at search firm Neumann Partners, agrees that recruitment levels are rising, but adds that they are not yet back at pre-crisis levels.

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