Jobs at Hong Kong’s 'big five' banks fall 31% in 12 months

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Fewer vacancies here this year

Vacancies at Hong Kong’s de facto ‘big five’ banks have slumped by 31% over the past year.

In early April 2015 the firms – Bank of China, Bank of East Asia, Heng Seng Bank, HSBC and Standard Chartered – collectively advertised 960 Hong Kong-based roles on their careers websites. Now they have ‘only’ 659.

While redundancies at Standard Chartered explain some of the fall, recruiters say it’s also reflective of a wider malaise in the financial job market in Hong Kong – especially in commercial and corporate banking.

“Hiring at these firms hasn’t suffered as much as at the IBD-focused players,” says a recruiter in Hong Kong who asked not to be named. “But in the wake of market turmoil in China they are more cautious with costs than they were last year and recruitment is down as a result.”

Still, the five institutions – deemed so systemically important to Hong Kong’s financial system that they hold more capital in reserve than other banks – are recruiting in (fairly) large numbers.

We’ve scoured their careers websites to find out which departments they're hiring in and have broken out their jobs in the tables below.

At 241 vacancies, HSBC is the dominant recruiter in Hong Kong banking right now. Although not moving its headquaters to the city, it remains committed to growing in Asia (especially in China's Pearl River Delta) at a time when many of its global rivals are pulling back.

“Asia is our heartland, and we still see strong opportunities in the region,” Stephen Williams, head of capital financing for Asia Pacific at HSBC, told Reuters last week. “The competitive environment is certainly moving more in our favour.”

Meanwhile, the ongoing Asian compliance hiring spree at HSBC shows no signs of abating – it has 52 vacancies in that function in Hong Kong alone.

Image credit: lovestock,iStock, Thinkstock

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