Given less positive sentiment in the banking sector, high volumes of new headcount creation is unlikely within front office in corporate or investment banking.
In light of bad debts, losses and compliance fines that banks have received over the years, compliance and risk departments are likely to remain the key focus of growth for financial organisations.
Banking employers in Hong Kong still favour local candidates and it is particularly difficult for overseas candidates to land a job here. For those who have quit their jobs and made their way to Hong Kong, they are seeing long recruitment turnaround times given the high competition among candidates and reduced job openings compared to previous years.
Employers have been more cautious, hiring based on cultural fit and organisational need and they are willing to take their time to find the right person.
In terms of skills in demand for the April to June quarter, we expect credit risk approval to remain a core function of banking, with banks adding more resources here to tighten the credit culture and reduce bad debt.
With increased demand for front office private bankers, client transactions are becoming more and more sophisticated, thus creating demand for new hires within private banking credit structuring.
New headcount needs and a limited pool of talent within niche areas have also created high demand for product compliance candidates in investment banking.
With the fast growth in private banking and wealth management, AML compliance is a skill in demand more than ever at private banks.
In terms of candidate trends, limited opportunities in the market have driven candidates who are impatient when switching jobs to be more flexible when considering potential roles, with some lowering salary expectations to ensure their profile is considered.