Bankers are obsessed with getting promoted. Promotion means higher pay, as well as more power within the organization. There are of course various ways to get promoted, and a lot has been said about this in global bulge bracket banks. But how do you get promoted in a Chinese securities firm? Is it still the same 'meritocracy?'
Not exactly. Yes, you'll still need to be technically excellent and good at managing people, but if you want to get ahead in a Chinese bank, you'll need something a little extra.
"We pay much more attention to networks than foreign banks do,"says an executive director at a local Chinese securities firm, speaking on condition of anonymity. And by networks he doesn't just mean links with colleagues. "The relationship with regulators, with various government bodies, with clients are all important."
In short, the more you can get out of these relationships, the more you can achieve, and the more likely you are to get promoted in China.
Another HR manager says it helps to be on the right side of your manager. "The relationship with your immediate manager is extremely important, because in Chinese firms, the recommendation from your immediate manager is key to your promotion," he say, adding that it helps to be engaged in as many projects as possible because in doing so you'll have multiple bosses and therefore multiple opportunities to build your reputation.
In fact, none of this may be that different to the big global securities firms. At Goldman Sachs, for example, employees are promoted to managing director and partner after a lengthy process known as 'cross-ruffing'. Under this, opinions about an employee are gleaned from every senior person he/she has come into contact with. As in China, only the exceptionally lucky make it through.