Are you a young banking professional in Hong Kong looking to enter a job function in which junior salaries are rising, not stagnating? Your choices are limited.
We looked through the new Hong Kong salary survey from recruiters Robert Walters to find out how 2018 base salaries (we averaged out the low and high pay marks) compare with 2017 ones for people with up to four years’ experience (i.e. analysts).
Of the 30 (non-technology) finance jobs surveyed at this level, only 14 registered any year-on-year pay rises, while just 10 of these (listed in the table below) enjoyed ‘big’ increases of 5% or more.
Wealth management dominates the table. Both large firms (including UBS, Credit Suisse, Citi, HSBC and Deutsche Bank) and boutiques (UBP, LGT, VP Bank, EFG and Safra Sarasin) are hiring in Hong Kong as the number of Chinese millionaires and billionaires surges.
Interesting, it’s not the relationship managers who are getting the best pay rises in Hong Kong private banking, although their 13% hikes are still significant. Junior product-specialist salaries rose by 22% year on year, according to Robert Walters. In a trend we first identified in October, severe skill shortages in this function are helping to push up compensation, while entrepreneurial Chinese clients are increasingly demanding more complex products from their private banks.
Average salaries for investment banking analysts (Robert Walters combines ECM, DCM and M&A into one category) are up a healthy 9% in Hong Kong compared with 2017.
As Chinese banks start to dominate IB league tables in North Asia, they have also been hiring the elite students who were once the preserve of their Western rivals. Foreign banks in Hong Kong, though, have still maintained their graduate hiring numbers and have not reduced junior compensation. Recent redundancies have targeted senior roles.
Although compliance hiring in Hong Kong is falling overall as technology takes over jobs and banks achieve headcount targets, junior KYC professionals remain sought after and their pay is up 8%. Corporate and private banking units face more stringent onboarding regulations as they take on new customers.
The drive to acquire fresh clients, particularly Chinese people with business interests in Hong Kong, also helps to explain why credit risk salaries are rising comparatively rapidly.