Credit Suisse isn’t just adding to its experienced ranks in Asia. The firm is turning to technology to step up its targeting of elite students in the region and says its graduate hiring remains strong despite economic headwinds.
“It’s been a difficult year for banking as an industry globally, but I don’t see a drop in graduate interest in any of our roles,” says Nikki Davies, Asia Pacific director of human resources, branding and communications at Credit Suisse in Hong Kong. “The application numbers for jobs in Asia are still huge.”
Credit Suisse does not release its internship and graduate class sizes. But Davies says 2017 intakes will be about the same as this year for Singapore and Hong Kong, while there’s “growth in our graduate numbers in China”.
Although global banks from Barclays to Goldman Sachs have pared back in Asia this year, Credit Suisse’s regional headcount rose by 750 over the 12 past months as CEO Tidjane Thiam grew its wealth management and investment banking operations.
The Swiss bank’s renewed focus on Asia, announced in October last year, also means it is trying to attract a broader range of candidates for internships in Hong Kong, Singapore and other Asian markets.
Alongside hiring drives held at Credit Suisse offices, students can now apply to take part in new online Asian recruitment events.
“We’re seeing a more diverse group apply to ‘virtual’ events – for example, people from different universities and more female attendees,” says Davies.
But can students really find out as much about jobs and departments at Credit Suisse when they’re asking questions online rather than meeting its bankers in person?
“There are still case studies and participants can still interact with each other, so everything you can do in our office-based marketing events you can do online,” says Davies. “And if we run out of time after the event, we can answer the questions later on.”
“We don’t see virtual recruiting as any less effective because young people are tech savvy, so we’re talking to them via a medium they’re used to. It complements our off-line events, and it’s perfect for Asia Pacific because the region is so spread-out and diverse,” she adds.
Credit Suisse runs 10 to 15 online student events in Asia annually – from ‘virtual recruitment chats’ to specific sessions on investment banking, impact investing and women in finance.
“We encourage everyone who attends our in-person and online marketing events to apply to penultimate-year internship jobs with us, and a very healthy percentage of them do,” says Davies. “We then also convert a high percentage of interns to full-time graduate jobs.”
Davies says showing a “passion for working in banking” is more important to landing a junior job at Credit Suisse than what major you’re doing.
“We also want to see leadership potential. For example, were you the leader of a student club or association? And if you’re applying in private banking, have you done anything entrepreneurial, for example, or have you experience with a family business?” she adds.
As well as hiring for front-office private banking and investment banking roles, Credit Suisse is also recruiting in technology in Asia.
“The big tech companies are competitors, but banks have always faced competition for the best tech talent – it was the same in the dot.com bubble,” says Davies.
Image credit: Credit Suisse