Banks are cutting jobs in Asia. Here's how to avoid the axe

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At this time of the year you've probably got your bonus for 2016 you'll know the state of your salary for 2017.

Your compensation will provide some clues, but you may still not know for sure whether your current bank actually wants to keep you for the rest of this year.

As global banks continue to cut jobs in Asia, here’s what you can do to stay clear of their redundancy lists.

Know exactly what your bank’s strategy is for Asia

Banks are continually changing their business priorities in Asia, so keep aware of your firm’s current strategic focus for the upcoming years. Then increase your employability by being adaptive to these change and demonstrate your role’s contribution to the new plans.

Don’t be afraid to speak your mind

Your ‘attitude’ now matters more than ever if you want to keep your job safe. Banks in Asia are no longer looking for . In the current volatile and complex business environment, they are expecting employees to be resourceful and to speak up and offer solutions to the challenges ahead. Don’t end up as someone who’s seen as being rigid and who just follow orders.

Show the flexibility to relocate to China

Banks increasingly like it when their Hong Kong staff show they are willing to relocate to mainland China if the opportunity were to arise. Some global banks are still building in China and if you are already familiar with doing business there and you speak Mandarin, make it known to management that relocation is an option for you.

Brush up your cross-selling skills

Led by firms like UBS and Credit Suisse wanting to sell more investment banking products to their entrepreneurial private clients, the ability to upsell or cross-sell opportunities is becoming increasingly sought after.

Try to take on regional responsibilities

Banks are offshoring some of their more junior back-office roles out of Hong Kong. So if you work in operations and you want to stay based in Hong Kong, you need to be diligent enough to focus your career on the regionally-focused roles – covering customers from diverse markets – that banks are keeping in the city.

Build risk and compliance expertise

With regulatory controls still tightening, banks in Asia are creating more in-house job opportunities in their risk and compliance teams. If you can’t make such a move yourself, demonstrate how your current job contains ‘gate-keeping’ functions for your department. Any risk and compliance skills you can build will help make you more valuable to the bank.

Take full advantage of appraisals

Banking professionals in Asia sometimes avoid awkward discussions during appraisals and other one-on-ones. But if you think your job is in danger, be bold and discuss it with your manager. Then in the same meeting try to demonstrate how your vision for your job aligns with the bank’s bear-market strategies.

Vicky Lee, formerly of the Bank Consortium Trust Company in Hong Kong, is a Hong Kong-based career coach.

Image credit: Csaba Toth, Getty

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