The best Asian market to work in as a 30-year-old banker

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Are you an Asian banker in your early 30s? Are you still feeling young and mobile enough to contemplate moving to a different financial centre?

Results from the eFinancialCareers jobs database reveal that the China, rather than Singapore or Hong Kong, is the best place to be based for those in the five-to-seven-year experience bracket searching for a front-office job at an investment bank.

We examined the percentage of roles advertised at that level compared to the overall number of jobs in Singapore, Hong Kong and China in four key areas: capital markets (ECM and DCM); equities (including sales, trading and research roles); debt (sales, trading, research) and M&A.

Although as an emerging market China can’t match the overall volume of investment banking vacancies in Hong Kong or Singapore, investment banks there are concentrating more of their hiring within the senior associate/VP range. In mainland China, more than 30% of jobs in the four functions we’ve looked at combined require candidates with between five and seven years’ experience – that compares with 25.6% and 18.3% in Singapore and Hong Kong respectively.

If you’re in your early 30s and work in capital markets China looks particularly attractive – 45.5% of these roles are for people in your age group. The value of equity capital markets (ECM) deals hit a record high of US$34.5bn in Q1, according to Dealogic, and banks in China need more bankers to help their senior staff win mandates from Chinese companies who are contemplating listing.

There’s also more demand for mid-career equities (sales, trading and research) candidates in China (30.8%) than in Singapore (28.6%) or Hong Kong (18.3%). As we reported in March, the hiring of equity research analysts who cover A-shares on Shanghai’s surging stock exchange is on the rise. It’s a different story in debt – an underdeveloped sector in China with few vacancies at any level and none right now in the five-to-seven-year range.

For M&A advisory roles, Singapore (30.8%) somewhat surprisingly beats both China (25%) and Hong Kong (9.1%), suggesting that banks are still hiring senior associates and VPs in the city state, despite recent senior-level redundancies at Goldman Sachs and CIMB aimed at cutting costs amid declining investment-banking revenues in Southeast Asia.

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