Jobs at Hong Kong’s ‘big five’ banks surge 43% in just 12 months

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Vacancies at Hong Kong’s de facto ‘big five’ banks have gone up by 43% over the past year.

Twelve months ago, Bank of China, Bank of East Asia, Hang Seng Bank, HSBC and Standard Chartered collectively advertised 659 Hong Kong-based roles on their careers websites.

Now that figure stands at about 945 – just slightly behind the 960 vacancies available at the end of Q3 2015. The five banks are deemed the most systemically important to Hong Kong’s financial system.

Aside from retail banking jobs, the rise is mainly fuelled by operations vacancies. But most of these positions are not newly created, say recruiters.

Driven by fears about offshoring, candidates are moving between back-office roles in larger numbers this year, forcing banks to hire replacements.

Unsurprisingly, there are few jobs in investment banking (M&A, ECM, DCM) and global markets (sales, trading, research). Of the five banks, only Bank of China finished in the top-10 for mainland investment banking revenues last year, according to Dealogic. It currently has the most roles in this area.

The numbers show that the banks still have plenty of risk and compliance vacancies, despite an overall slowdown in middle-office hiring in Hong Kong.

Standard Charted has about 25 openings for governance roles in the city – up from nine this time last year. The Asia-focused bank wants to scale back its compliance expansion from 2018, however.

Risk and compliance vacancies at HSBC have fallen from 52 to 40 year on year, although we understand that it continues to bring in new contractors in this function.

HSBC is by far the dominant recruiter overall within the group (it has more than 300 jobs on offer). And it also has the healthiest number of corporate banking vacancies.

As we reported last month, Stan Chart (via its North Asia head, Vivian Chan, who was poached from Barclays last year) is hiring aggressively in private banking – and its current vacancy numbers reflect this.

Image credit: MaFelipe, Getty

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