If you’re thinking of starting a search for a new banking job in Hong Kong, it’s first worth considering whether your efforts will be worthwhile.
If there are a lot of other people looking for work in your field now may not be a good time to enter the job market.
To help you decide, we compared the amount of Hong Kong-based vacancies to the number of local candidates on our database across 19 key finance job functions to produce the chart below.
If you’re in one of the sectors towards the top of the chart, your job search could be fairly straight forward as you will face the least competition from other candidates. If you’re at the bottom, you might want to stick with your current job.
Risk management professionals will have the easiest time finding a new job in Hong Kong – there are just three Hong-based candidates on our database for every available job in the city.
While credit and market risk roles are perpetually opening up in Hong Kong, there’s also emerging demand in conduct and operational risk. “New regulatory requirements around reporting, trade capturing and cyber security are creating a lot of new jobs in operational risk,” says Clara Shing, manager of financial services risk and products at recruiters Robert Walters in Hong Kong.
The chart shows that skill shortages in risk and compliance (four CVs per vacancy) have not gone away. Even banks like Standard Chartered, which are cutting roles in other areas, are still beefing up in compliance, say recruiters in Hong Kong.
Private banks in Hong Kong are also struggling to hire enough relationship managers to serve the Greater China market (UBS, for example is hiring for its Kowloon office). But while RMs may face comparatively few other candidates, they job moves are often hampered by their clients not wanting to follow them to the new firm.
More surprisingly, given recent offshoring to markets like India and the Philippines, operations also features towards the top of our ranking. Many of the current back-office vacancies in Hong Kong are senior and/or in specialist areas like client onboarding where banks find it more difficult to recruit new staff.
Unlike other sectors, the high ranking for hedge funds on our table doesn’t indicate an ‘easy’ job search – it reflects the small pool of people with hedge fund experience already on their CVs. If you’re looking for a hedge fund job, you’ll also be up against elite candidates with investment banking backgrounds.
The bottom of our list shows the impact of recent redundancies in banking, which have reduced vacancies and increased the number of unemployed candidates. FX and commodities – two sectors particularly affected by job losses at global banks – have high ratios of 25 and 79 respectively.
It’s also in equities – you’ll be competing with 16 other candidates if you look for a job in Hong Kong now, according to our data. Several banks, most notably Barclays, have culled or trimmed their equities teams in Asia over the past year as their struggle for profitability.