The only 10 Hong Kong finance jobs where 25-year-olds still get pay rises

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Are you graduating in Hong Kong this year? Are you worried about living in the world’s most expensive city? And are you wanting to go into a finance job function in which junior salaries are rising, not stagnating? You choices are limited.

We looked through the 2019 Hong Kong salary survey from recruiters Robert Walters to find out how base salaries (averaged out between low and high pay marks) compare with 2018 ones for people with up to four years’ experience (i.e. analysts, typically in their mid-20s).

Of the 30-plus (non-technology) finance jobs that Robert Walters surveyed at this level, only 10 registered a notable year-on-year pay rise, as shown in the table below. Most job sectors were flat in terms of base pay (we included roles with increases of less than 1% in this group), while a few were marginally down.

Investment banking (including both M&A and capital markets) did, however, make the cut, registering a 7% increase. While Dealogic data shows a 20% year-on-year fall in North Asia IB revenue for 2018, front-office recruitment in Hong Kong remains focused at the graduate and juniuor level, which is leading to healthy pay increments.

Product control, perhaps surprisingly, tops our table with average salary rises of 13% for analysts in Hong Kong. Global banks offshored many product control roles away from Hong Kong earlier this decade, but demand for these junior banking accountants now appears to be on the up.

The list includes three analyst risk management jobs (credit, operational and counterparty), suggesting continued strong demand for junior risk professionals. By contrast, hiring in compliance in Hong Kong has slumped over the past two years – as has pay inflation.

As we've previously reported, wealth management product specialists are becoming more sought after in Asia as private banks like UBS and Credit Suisse seek to support their expanding ranks of relationship managers. The function’s appearance on the analyst-level pay-rise table reflects this recent trend.

Meanwhile, banks in Hong Kong are also boosting their recruitment within junior IT audit, and skill shortages are forcing them to become more generous paymasters and hire so-called subject-matter experts – technologists who want a career change into tech audit.

On the buy-side, pay is going up (but not by much) for junior execution traders in both hedge funds and traditional asset management firms.

The figures below largely reflect salary increases for people who stay put at their current employer. Anyone looking for 15% or more will need to move to a new firm.

Image credit: twinsterphoto, Getty

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