Are you slogging your way through a graduate analyst programme at a bank in Singapore or Hong Kong? Are you wondering whether to stick with your current firm after your traineeship is over or look to join a rival?
Your scope for moving banks in your mid-20s partly depends on which part of financial services you’re working in. We’ve examined some of the key job sectors on the eFinancialCareers database and worked out the percentage of vacancies listed for candidates with one to five years’ experience.
Demand for juniors in the buoyant sectors of corporate banking and private banking is comparatively weak in Asia, at 11% and 18% respectively. Banks want candidates who can bring them strong client relationships – and that requires a few grey hairs.
Front-office staff within investment banking generally fare better – large IBs typically have the most hierarchical structures in place to enable junior employees to rise up the ranks. Derivatives (28%) and equities (33%), incorporating both ECM and trading, are among the most needy of mid-20s talent. Senior equities hiring in Asia has slumped in recent months, pushing up the junior percentage, and banks remain reluctant to hire costly VPs and MDs.
Young bankers in Hong Kong and Singapore may also like to consider an early move to the buy-side – hedge funds (29%), asset management firms (24%), and private equity firms (23%) are all building their junior workforces in Asia, although competition for these jobs is fierce as candidates still far exceed vacancies.
As the chart shows, research teams in particular have little need for juniors right now – in Hong Kong they are mainly hiring more senior staff to provide in-depth knowledge of newly listed mainland companies. Similarly, the Asian recruitment boom in risk and compliance is focused on the mid and upper levels – those with established relationships with local regulators and the ability to influence people in the front office.
Back-office and fintech professionals in Singapore and Hong Kong looking to make their first post-traineeship job move might also struggle in the current market. Just 12% and 15% of roles in IT and operations respectively fall in the one-to-five-year bracket as banks continue to offshore lower-level jobs in these sectors away from the two expensive Asian financial centres.