Hong Kong finance salaries surge by up to 40% for VPs

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Their bonuses may be plummeting, but vice president (VPs) in Hong Kong have seen their base salaries shoot up, according to a new report.

We looked through the Hong Kong salary survey from recruiters Robert Walters to find out how 2017 base salaries for mid-ranking staff (people with eight years’ experience, typically VPs) in the front-office compare with last year.

We then compiled the table below, which shows the 10 VP job functions in which pay has gone up year-on-year in Hong Kong (it stagnated in some roles, for example in private banking and private equity).

The salary hikes in the Robert Walters report are huge, and average out at 22% across the 10 roles.

Significantly, capital markets pay went up 29% for VPs. As global banks from Barclays to Goldman Sachs cut directors and MDs in Asia last year, they piled more responsibilities on the bankers below them.

This pay survey suggests mid-level bankers are being better rewarded for their increased workloads.

Hedge fund analysts and traders with about eight years’ experience under their belts have also enjoyed eyewatering pay rises over the past 12 months.

As we reported in January, Asian hedge funds have all but abandoned recruiting younger staff from banks in favour of poaching more expensive “plug-and-play” candidates from competitors.

The figures must be taken with a few grains of salt, however. They reflect skill shortages at VP level – because investment banks in Hong Kong cut their graduate hiring eight years ago in the wake of the financial crisis – rather than an overall revival in front-office recruitment.

“The percentages in this salary survey seem too much on the high side, but it’s no surprise that VP pay is going up,” says a Hong Kong headhunter. “There aren’t enough VPs around anyway, and now VPs are increasingly important to banks as the senior guys get cut

“But do remember that bonuses have been pretty awful this year, so even if your base rises 30%, you might not actually be earning any more money,” he adds.

Image credit: PashaIgnatov, Getty

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