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Emma Charnock

Employers fight for local talent

BY EMMA CHARNOCK

Over the past few months the number of vacancies has been steadily increasing within the banking and finance sector across Asia. While this is great news for the jobs market, many employers are finding it difficult to source candidates with the right level skills and experience locally.

Back in March we advised employers who hadn’t already done so to quicken their recruiting process and many are now doing just that. However, with the lack of available talent, this strategy alone may not suffice. In order to fill vacancies, some employers are increasing compensation levels to attract the best talent. Many are also more open to relocating people with the right skills.

Naturally with the increase in vacancies comes a spike in candidate interest, particularly from those quality passive candidates that keep an eye on the market. So we expect a rise in the number of candidates leaving their secure roles in search of a new and exciting opportunity.

For employers with a strong talent pool, this means you need to do everything you can to retain your team before they seek or attract interest from outside the business. Counter offers are on the rise. This trend is likely to continue over the next 12 months as employers fight to retain their key talent.

We recently asked candidates across Asia* what they believe is the best way for a company to retain their employees and 57 per cent selected structured career reviews. So unless employers have communicated career development plans clearly, employees are likely to question their future and begin to explore the rising number of opportunities on the market.

We’ve just released our Quarterly Report for July to September which reveals a number of hotspots in banking and finance across Asia this quarter.

In China economic conditions continue to improve so there is a renewed enthusiasm to recruit. However skilled candidates are in short supply despite the number looking for a new role. While employers remain selective, most realise they need to move quickly to secure the best talent.

•    There is a continued focus on risk management so candidates with experience in compliance and internal control are in highly sought after.
•    Demand is also high for Finance Executives with IT or system knowledge as most companies across all industries now using management software programs
•    Due to the rapid change of tax regulations in China, senior tax professionals with strong local government relationships and knowledge of China tax are sought after.
•    Candidates within the commercial banking sector are in short supply.
•    Those with PRC experience and English language skills in particular are sought by foreign banks trying to enter the market.

Employers in Hong Kong are also increasing headcount. While this is great news for the jobs market, many are finding it difficult to source candidates with the right level skills and experience locally. They will not only consider, but are encouraging, candidates to move from other markets.

•    Candidates with current experience in International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) are highly sought after due to recent changes in regulations.
•    Product Control, specifically equity derivatives, is a rapidly growing market in Hong Kong and there is strong demand for skilled candidates in this area.
•    With the rapid growth in China, there are a lot of Chinese companies wishing to go public. M&A activity is also on the rise. This is creating demand for corporate finance advisory candidates, from Analyst to MD level with China transaction experience.
•    With the constant flow of capital from west to east and the increased corporate finance activity we are predicting increased trading activity in equities and also in money markets, resulting in high demand within these areas.

* We recently conducted a survey of candidates in Asia:

What motivates you in your choice of a new job?
•    Salary - 14.8%
•    Company environment - 19.0%
•    Career development - 64.7%
•    Title - 1.5%

In your view what are the characteristics of a “winning” company?
•    Job security - 5.8%
•    Career development - 32.8%
•    Company environment and public image - 39.8%
•    Profitability - 21.6%

The views expressed in this column are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect this publication's view, and this article is not edited by Asian Banking & Finance. The author was not remunerated for this article.

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Emma Charnock

Emma Charnock

Emma Charnock is the Regional Director in Hong Kong and China for Hays. 

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