Many financial institutions in Hong Kong are now offering higher salaries and benefits in order to attract candidates away from their existing jobs. In general, hiring intentions in many areas of Hong Kong’s banking & financial services sector are increasing, especially for contract professionals.
“Many contractors within the financial services industry are now working at a premium and many permanent employees are open to temporary positions based on the potential to earn a higher compensation. This in turn is also pushing rates up,” says Dean Stallard, Regional Director of Hays in Hong Kong.
In terms of specific trends for the July to September quarter, in the middle office (banking operations) we are seeing increased hiring intentions for trade support contractors from both international and Chinese banks. As competition increases for experienced trade support contractors, banks are making their salary and benefits packages more attractive in order to entice candidates.
Meanwhile, in the front office corporate banking space demand is increasing for Senior Corporate Bankers and Senior Relationship Managers. Commercial and corporate banking remains the solid profit revenue stream, and therefore high growth targets have been set. As a result in the front office corporate banking space we’re seeing high demand for Senior Corporate Bankers who can bring new corporate banking clients to a bank. Employers also want Senior Relationship Managers who can manage China corporates or Hong Kong mid-cap corporates.
“We are seeing an increasing number of employers become far more open to recruiting overseas Chinese returners as candidates who have mainland deal experience are still highly preferred.” Dean explains.
See: Peeping Hong Kong HR Dynamics through the Expert
We are also seeing high demand for VBA. Trade support involves a lot of spreadsheet preparation and data manipulation, which is why employers look for candidates who can automate the data.
Candidates who manage non-bank financial insurance clients, such as funds, insurance or brokers/dealers, are also sought as bank portfolios have been saturated while non-bank FI portfolios are under-penetrated in most banks.
There is also high demand for M&A banking, Corporate Finance and Capital Markets professionals. “As Hong Kong is the financial hub and entryway to China there is still a lot of activity in the front office investment banking space. Candidates with Mandarin and Cantonese language skills in addition to strong cross-border deal experience are in highest demand,” claims Dean.
Within risk management we are also seeing high demand in special assets and remedial management for Credit Approvers and Senior Credit Analysts. Given the aggressive growth of the commercial banking sector over the past few years, not all new clients have been profitable and there are now a high number of delinquent accounts and non-performing loans. This has created a need to recruit within credit risk departments.
“A significant candidate trend we have noticed is that job seekers are slowly becoming more accepting of temporary roles in Hong Kong,” says Dean. “At the same time these candidates are increasingly interested in employers that offer work-life balance.”
See also: Rapid Growth of Hong Kong’s IT Recruitment Market