The new year has arrived. What lies in store for you if you’re about to start a search for a new banking job? Financial services recruiters in Hong Kong provide their predictions for the local job market in 2018.
More corporate bankers from China will be hired into Hong Kong jobs
“Foreign banks in Hong Kong will increasingly want to hire relationship managers currently working in South China banking centres like Guangzhou or Shenzhen, as well as Hong Kong-based candidates who manage Pearl River Delta clients,” says Jack Leung, business director of recruiters Hays in Hong Kong. “These RMs are expected to originate and onboard a decent number of new clients, have a strong credit sense, and the ability to write comprehensive credit proposals in English.”
Senior investment bankers will be back in demand
The post-bonus hiring season in investment banking could be comparatively healthy in 2018 as senior-level recruitment finally recovers after two years of juniorisation. “We will likely see a big push for experienced investment bankers across VP, director and MD levels early in 2018,” says Kevin Allen, a senior consultant in global banking and markets at recruiters Links International. “Origination skills will be key as banks increase headcount across infrastructure, power and utilities, TMT, and healthcare, as well as in their M&A and DCM product teams.”
Front-office pay rises could start to improve
If investment banking hiring does pick up, larger pay rises could be on the cards for those who move. “As a result of a surge in vacancies and higher demand for local talent, we’ve seen one bank already offering a 58% salary increment to onboard an experienced banker, or going as high as 30% to attract a junior banker,” says Rick Chung, associate director of banking and financial services at recruitment firm Randstad.
Specialist regulatory skills will be sought after
Compliance hiring fell in Hong Kong in 2017 after several years of increases. In 2018, specialist candidates will be most in demand. “Faced with a wave of new regulations from global financial bodies, Hong Kong compliance candidates will need to possess a diverse knowledge base to stand out in 2018,” says Kieran McKenna, a senior recruitment consultant at Astbury Marsden. “For example, the SFC’s new Manager-In-Charge regime, MiFID II, and the GDPR.”
IT auditors will be hotter than ever
“There will be high demand for professionals specialising in IT audit, because of the exponential increase in usage of online banking services and the resulting cyber-security concerns,” says Rebecca Chan, director of recruiters Michael Page. “Both local and overseas banks are seeking IT audit candidates at managerial level and above, but there’s an acute talent shortage as the number of trained IT auditors is limited and most don’t want to leave consultancies. Candidates who move jobs can expect a 20% to 25% salary increment.”
Digital banking hiring will get even more active
Hong Kong will cement its position as a development hub for digital consumer banking in Asia as large banks look to capitalise on the historically slow uptake of traditional banking and the high recent uptake of mobile technology across Asian emerging markets. HSBC increased its Hong Kong digital banking hiring last year in as part of a global $1.7bn “digital transformation” plan. Expect other foreign and local banks to follow suit in 2018 as they respond to emerging fintech threats such as WeChat Wallet.
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