China's banking job market has started to become slightly bearish as the credit growth of the big four state-owned banks has declined and the A-share market has performed poorly. This is helping to drive some banking professionals into other parts of the financial industry, or even into the corporate sector, where they stand to enjoy a better work-life balance.
Clemmie Zhang, senior consultant, financial services, Antal International Beijing, says most banks, especially municipal commercial banks, have been affected by the downturn. "They have to adapt to the new business environment and set proper internal systems, as well as have new financial products, in order to have long-term success.” When the economic environment is pessimistic, it is even more difficult for them to compete with larger, nationwide banks.
Banking professionals have started to search for opportunities elsewhere. "They are looking into funds, trust companies, insurers, finance companies, leasing companies and even ones not in the financial area, like the auto industry. They are tired of the performance pressure," adds Zhang.
Cecilia Li, senior finance consultant, RMG Selection, says: "Internet high-tech companies who have established strategic investment departments, some of which have their own funds, have attracted lots of candidates from the financial industry."
She adds: "Generally speaking, not all professionals will get an increase in salary in a short period of time, but their work-life balance will be better than before. For instance, the average working time is 10 to 16 hours in the financial industry and eight to 10 hours in other enterprises. Their salary may increased in the long-term as some enterprises offer long-term equity anticipation securities."
But if you staying in banking…
For those who are determined to stay in banking, employers are become more demanding about candidates' skills and backgrounds. "In the past many companies required large amounts of people in financial analysis and investment banking. At present, there are more positions for those with both a financial-analysis and consultancy background as well as financial experience," says Li.
Most banks still plan to open new branches in China. "Currently we have plenty of positions, but all are resource driven, which means candidates need to have a great amount of corporate deposits and have a strong sales ability," says Zhang.