Hong Kong vs Singapore: which is your best bet for a banking job in 2018?

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If you’re looking for a front-office banking job in Asia this bonus season, you will typically find more options in Hong Kong than Singapore.

We went through the eFinancialCareers jobs database and found the number of vacancies in Singapore and Hong Kong across nine key front-office sectors. We then converted these figures into city-based percentages to produce the chart below, which shows how Hong Kong (in green) compares with Singapore (in blue) for front-office openings per job function.

Hong Kong dominates Singapore in equities (sales, trading and research) – right now it has 89% of the jobs advertised in this field across the two markets. Global banks in Hong Kong are slowly starting to rebuild again in equities sales and trading, after two years of cutbacks. They are also hiring more researchers to cover Chinese stocks (some of whom are based in Hong Kong), following continued liberalisation of China’s securities market and index publisher MSCI’s landmark decision last year to include China-listed shares in its emerging-markets benchmark.

As a larger investment banking centre, Hong Kong has more positions available in capital markets and M&A. ECM recruitment in the territory, for example, is being led by Chinese banks, in particular CITIC Securities, China Securities and GF Securities, which took the top three places for Asia (ex-Japan) ECM revenues in 2017, according to Dealogic. By contrast, the cross-border expertise of Western banks means they still rule the M&A league tables.

Hong Kong also has more than three times as many derivatives roles than Singapore. As we noted last week, the Hong Kong job market in derivatives has remained comparatively buoyant in recent months.

Jobs are distributed more evenly between Hong Kong and Singapore in corporate banking and private banking. Both markets are experiencing an ongoing shortage of relationship managers that is forcing banks to aggressively poach from each other, typically by offering large pay rises.

Singapore has a clear advantage over Hong Kong for both commodities and FX jobs. While recruitment isn’t booming, Singapore is maintaining its status as the Asian hub for both sectors. In FX, Singapore lags behind only London and New York in terms of trading volume.

Image credit: CasarsaGuru, Getty

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