Moving to a new Hong Kong banking job in your early 30s should, in theory, be easy enough. You’ve clocked up several years of valuable experience, yet you’re not expensive enough to be a drag on profits.
But in reality your scope for making a mid-career move in the current market depends a lot on which part of Hong Kong financial services you’re working in.
To help you decide whether your job search will be worth the effort, we compared the amount of Hong Kong-based vacancies to the number of local CVs on our database in the seven-to-10-year experience range across 17 key finance job functions.
If you’re in one of the sectors towards the top of the chart, you will face the least competition from other candidates. If you’re at the bottom, you might want to stick in your current position.
Surprisingly, in a fairly depressed market for front-office hiring in Hong Kong, capital markets professionals will have the ‘easiest’ time finding a new job in Hong Kong. There are just six Hong Kong-based candidates on our database for every available job in the city.
This may be more to do with the 30-something age group we looked at than any boom in capital markets hiring. “It’s getting harder to retain bankers past associate level now,” says a Hong Kong headhunter. “The attitude is ‘I’ll leave after I’m an associate’, probably to go in-house at a corporate.”
The chart shows that skill shortages in risk and compliance have not gone away for people with between seven and 10 years’ experience. Although Citi is toning down its Hong Kong compliance hiring, HSBC and Standard Chartered continue to recruit in large numbers. And as we reported last month, more compliance staff in Hong Kong are quitting their jobs because of long hours and unmanageable workloads.
The bottom of our list shows the impact of recent redundancies in banking, which have reduced vacancies and increased the number of unemployed candidates. Fixed income and commodities – two sectors particularly affected by job losses at global banks – have comparatively high ratios of 17 and 25 respectively.
It’s also bad in equities – you’ll be competing with 18 other mid-career candidates if you look for a job in Hong Kong now, according to our data. Several banks, most notably Barclays, have culled or trimmed their equities teams in Hong Kong over the past year as their struggle for profitability.
Image credit: mattjeacock, Getty