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Preview of 2010: six sectors with the hottest jobs

Asset management

This sector will benefit from the growth of the Chinese economy and the evolution of the country’s capital market. “The talent shortage is expected to continue. Hot positions like fund manager and research analyst will always need to be filled. At the same time, quality candidates are expected to receive a lot of headhunting calls,” comments Cherol Cheuk, director of banking at Hudson.

Foreign i-banks

International firms want Chinese execution bankers, as well as senior coverage bankers with close connections to the PRC government, says David Koo, director, Lion Rock International. “Apart from Goldman Sachs, UBS, Credit Suisse and Deutsche Bank, other foreign investment banks are in the process of sorting out their A-share licence. There will be a talent fight between those companies in the near future.”

Foreign firms whose hiring was on hold for much of 2009 will be ramping up in 2010, adds Eunice Ng, director, Avanza Consulting. “Investment banks are calling us for talents in cross-border M&A who have good Mandarin abilities. Ideally these candidates have already worked in either Shanghai or Beijing.”

Chinese i-banks

An increasing number of IPOs and M&A deals will make 2010 a good year for mainland investment bankers. Overseas-graduated candidates with strong local networks will be still be the most sought after. And they will have to weigh up whether to work for a domestic or an international bank.

“Candidates’ attentions may shift to the top Chinese investment banks instead of the traditional Western powerhouses. We are already getting more enquiries from overseas candidates who want to see if they could get a job with CICC or another major Chinese investment bank,” says Kensy Sy, head of banking & finance practice, Talent 2 Beijing.

Natural resources

M&A activity in natural resources is underpinned by China’s hunger for raw materials. Given the international nature of clients in this sector, industry knowledge and technical expertise are paramount, says Rafael Brana, an associate at Bó Lè Associates. This is one of the few areas where non-Mandarin speaking investment bankers can still distinguish themselves.

“Both senior and junior bankers with industry sub-specialties – including metals and mining, oil and gas, and pulp and paper – are highly sought after. If you are trying to break in for the long haul, the future is in alternative/renewable energy, which includes wind, solar and bio fuels,” explains Brana.


Financial institution group (FIG) bankers will continue to be in demand in 2010. Within FIG, insurance M&A specialists are the hottest property, given the dual circumstances of insurance assets up for sale and the underlying growth of the industry, says Brana.

“This sub-specialty has the largest talent imbalance of demand (high) and supply (low), which should translate into hefty bonuses for those more statistically-oriented insurance bankers. I heard a funny rumour of some investment bankers signing up for insurance valuation classes ahead of client pitches.”

Retail banking

Foreign banks grew their retail networks in 2009 and the trend will continue in 2010, particularly in second and third tier-cities.

“New players who are able to get local incorporation and the subsequent RMB license next year will increase the demand for frontline talents: branch managers, relationship managers and sales managers,” says Gregory Rastello, an executive consultant at Talent2 Beijing.

Next week we’ll continue our look at the most active job sectors in the mainland market.

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