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IPOs are booming, so are ECM jobs

If you’re looking for a genuinely tight employment market, fuelled by real economic growth, try ECM in China.

Last year China ascended the global IPO throne, accounting for 183 deals (the US managed 54) and making up 45 per cent of IPO volume, according to data tracker Dealogic. And for the first time, a Chinese firm, CICC, was the number one international IPO bank.

All this deal activity means ECM experts are in demand. “But this time we have received more hiring requests from the Chinese investment banks, instead of the usual suspects like UBS, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs,” comments Kensy Sy, head of banking & finance practice, Talent2 Beijing.

“Because the Chinese investment banks (CICC, CITIC etc) have strong connections with state-owned enterprises and local corporates, they have advantages to win mandates,” he adds.

But even these powerful banks are finding that ECM professionals are in short supply. “There is a dearth of talent on the ground currently, so there is a strong need to source candidates from places such as Hong Kong,” says Gary Collister, head of front office search, Connected Group.

Sy agrees: “It’s easier for HK candidates to adapt to the culture, and most of them can speak Mandarin, but the banks request them to have strong local networks.”

In order to meet demand over the longer term, Chinese banks are also focused on growing their domestic talent pool.

“There is such a shortage of talented people available that the government has begun to lean on the local banks to try and pick up the slack. This means hiring and training new people as well as enticing skilled individuals from Western banks to make the switch,” explains Collister.

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