The Year of the Rooster has only just begun, but some finance students in Asia are already worrying about whether investment banks will be doing less graduate hiring for 2018.
These emerging concerns belie the fact that global banks in Singapore and Hong Kong have largely kept their 2017 graduate intakes untouched.
J.P. Morgan doesn’t release its figures, but told us that its 2017 grad cohort is likely to be of a similar size to last year’s.
But penultimate-year students in Singapore and Hong Kong – who are interning this summer and aiming to clinch full-time roles next year – fear these healthy 2017 numbers won’t continue into 2018.
“I’m seeing more worries among classmates here about get jobs at investment banks,” says a Chinese University of Hong Kong student who wants to work in banking.
“My friends are even concerned about having to look for jobs outside of banking after graduating next year, because banks might give out fewer full-time offers to their interns due to the slowing economy,” he adds.
None of this means Asian finance students are less determined to break into banking.
“Even though there may be fewer grad jobs next year and even though there’s been redundancies at global banks in Asia recently, I’m not demotivated from applying to banks,” says another Hong Kong student.
“My interest has always been in the financial sector and I’m looking for a job in banking regardless of the market situation,” he adds.
“Ultimately, however depressed the job market is, we just need one job to get a foot in the door,” says a student at Singapore Management University. “And we students who study finance are generally unable to switch our major just because of a cyclical shift in the job market.”
The students we spoke with expect workplace competition among interns to be particularly intense this summer. The perception that interns will be fighting for a smaller number of 2018 graduate jobs is “widespread”, says the second Hong Kong student.
Are the students correct to be concerned about jobs next year? “It’s too early to say as most banks won’t open up 2018 analyst applications until this autumn,” says a recruiter at a global bank in Singapore. “But even if they are right, the large banks will still be getting very good quality applicants as always.”
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