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Welcome to the Robert Walters’ specialist market update, designed to provide you with an insight
into the very latest recruitment market and salary trends across the financial services sector.

In the first half of 2010, we witnessed the positive effects resulting from the upturn in the global
economy. There was a noticeable spike in hiring volumes in quarter one, which flattened out
towards the middle of the year. The uncertainty created by the European debt crisis has meant
that companies are currently being cautious in expanding over aggressively. However, positive
sentiment in Asia has been a strong factor in not seeing any evidence of a slow-down in hiring
as we move into the second half of the year.

Matthew Bennett
Managing Director
T: +852 2103 5300

Transaction Banking
Recruitment activity in the transaction banking space started on a positive note in 2010
as market sentiment improved significantly and the economy continued to recover.

We have seen a marked upturn in the numbers of professionals willing to explore new
job opportunities and ultimately change jobs. We also observed rounds of “musical
chairs” in the transaction banking space as banks started actively recruiting and
poaching talent from their competitors.

We witnessed a constant demand for transaction banking candidates with strong

technical skills and solid sales track records. As the pool of qualified candidates
in this space remained very limited, hiring managers were more receptive to consider
candidates with transferable skills, such as relationship managers in the corporate
and commercial banking space. Good relationship managers were sought-after as
many of them have strong credit skills and trade finance knowledge in addition to
a network of clients. However, there were not many experienced relationship managers
keen to switch to a more specialised role, as many still preferred a suite of products
to market to clients.


The cash management business has been challenging in the low interest rate
environment, and hence banks focused more on their trade finance business. OPERATIONAL RISK
A number of banks actively looked for strong trade sales candidates with
good supply chain experience and a client network of multinationals or large Demand in this area has remained high
local corporates. Qualified product and implementation managers with good throughout the first half of 2010, with
technical skills and knowledge of the transaction banking space were also compliance being the key area of focus
highly sought-after. for a number of organisations. In the
equities and corporate finance space,
There was also some selective hiring in the securities services space
there was an increase in business
from major players as well as the smaller firms in Asia, which were mainly
compliance positions, where there were
recruiting relationship managers and client servicing managers.
a number of critical hires made at a
As we move into quarter three, we expect to see a slowdown in hiring activity senior level. Experienced professionals
at some stage soon, mainly due to some banks officially freezing headcounts with compliance advisory, control room
or implementing longer and more arduous approval processes. However we and monitoring skill sets were able to
expect hiring to then pick up towards the end of the year as the banks gear command a premium in the market.
up for 2011. Compliance professionals with a legal
background remained difficult to source
High calibre candidates have demonstrated a reticence to move jobs unless
due to the limited supply following a
potential employers are willing to buy them out of their current bonus entitlement
number of movements in 2009.
or provide a guaranteed bonus. Consequently, we have seen a noticeable
increase in this type of offer being made. In the areas of audit and operational risk,
demand for experienced professionals
remained stable in the first half of the
Risk Management
year. Due to the client-facing element of
In the first half of 2010, we saw an increase in hiring activity in the risk
such roles, hiring remained focused on
management space, with some new roles being created as the trading volume for
professionals with more than six years’
banks increased inline with the economic recovery. There was a strong demand
experience, usually at or above the
for experienced credit risk analysts, especially those with good knowledge
manager/AVP level.
of global markets products. Credit analysts with strong commodities experience
were also in demand as the markets become bullish again. Good risk managers In the second half of 2010, we anticipate
have remained in strong demand since the start of the global financial crisis, that demand will be sustained at the
particularly in the credit risk space. senior end due to on-going regulatory
changes. However, we expect any
Technically strong candidates with working experience in Asia have been in
significant expansion of teams in this
particularly high demand. In view of the candidate-short market, banks have
space may be curbed due to uncertainty in
begun recruiting candidates from overseas, especially from the major financial
the economic environment.
hubs such as New York, London and Singapore. In addition, there was
increased demand for strong risk management candidates who can speak
Mandarin and have working experience in China. Many international banks
have started expanding their footprint in China and are hence actively seeking
candidates who are working or have worked for international banks in China,
or those who can speak fluent Mandarin and are willing to relocate.

We anticipate a constant demand for qualified risk candidates for the remainder
of 2010 and believe salary levels will continue to increase. As we approach the
second half of this year, we would expect sign-on and guaranteed bonuses to
be more commonplace to entice candidates to change jobs.
Strong business growth in the first half of the year led to an increase in the
number of operations roles, mainly for experienced professionals with equities
background and process knowledge, with operational costs remaining a key
consideration for most financial institutions. With efficiency being the focus,
project management professionals were in high demand to enable rollouts
and integration work within certain organisations.

Demand for professionals with sound operations and project skill sets is likely to
be sustained for the second half of 2010 due to existing investments in certain
key projects. As a consequence of uncertainty from the European debt crisis,
we do however envisage a lower volume of hires in the operations space for the
second half of the year.


Many financial institutions shifted their focus to the Asia region in the beginning
of 2010, leading to a significant increase in the number of front-line HR and
support staff that were hired. Key areas of demand included HR reporting
analysis, HRIS and learning & development and also lateral recruitment. In
the current candidate-driven market, active candidates were often presented with
multiple offers and counter offers. It was not uncommon for canddiates
to expect at least a 20% salary increase in order to move to a new position.

Leading investment and consumer banks as well as asset management firms

have been actively hiring personal assistants and team secretaries to support the
business. With the North American market showing signs of improvement many US
banks looked to hire more team assistants to support expanding teams in areas
such as fixed income, corporate finance and equity research.

The IT job market in Hong Kong remained highly active and IT professionals
On the back of the recovery seen in the continued to be in demand across the banking and financial services sector.
first half of 2010, we observed an increase
We saw a high demand for candidates with good financial industry knowledge
in the demand of experienced finance
and a strong technical banking background. There continued to be a shortage of
professionals. There were several
IT candidates in the market and we started to see more intense competition for
senior hires made in the product control
top talent. High calibre candidates with the required skill sets tended to receive
space as well as at CFO level. Trading
multiple job offers and experienced buybacks and big counter offers from their
activity in equities increased, leading to
current employers in a bid to retain them.
a corresponding increase in demand for
finance individuals with related product As trade volumes increased in the first half of 2010, there was an increase in
skill sets. demand for support staff, particularly in the Market Data and FIX areas. Due
to the talent shortage in Hong Kong, financial institutions started sourcing
However, with the onset of the European candidates from overseas in order to meet demands from the business.
sovereign debt crisis, recruitment in this However, in instances where there were cost concerns, hiring local candidates with
space is likely to slow in the second half strong potential and then offering them appropriate training & development was often
of the year. Some finance teams have considered.
already announced a headcount freeze
as a result of filling all their budgeted Although the recruitment market has not shown any signs of slowing down in the
positions in the first half of the year. latter half of the year it is expected that many companies will put incremental
hires on hold, unless business-critical.
In the first half of the year, we witnessed varied levels of recruitment activity
and demand for certain areas of legal expertise.

Prior to Easter, both employers and candidates started showing more interest in
the market, although they remained highly cautious and many were not ready
to make firm commitments. A high proportion of candidates were waiting for
salary reviews and bonuses to be paid before re-assessing their career options.

Investment banks and financial institutions bolstered their teams and hiring
was predominantly in areas such as equity/credit derivatives, funds, wealth
management and capital markets from two to eight years’ PQE. We also saw
continued demand for ISDA negotiators, particularly candidates with NAFMII
experience, with some institutions offering not only permanent but also long term
contracting opportunities due to increasing work load. Most notably, due
to the growing importance and influence of China’s economy, language skill
sets have become a more essential requirement for hiring, in particular fluency
in Mandarin, Cantonese and English.

There were also some senior level vacancies in general corporate M&A in
some of the major investment banks. Most institutions were able to capitalise on
strong talent from the private practice market, as candidates were willing
to move to broader and more challenging in-house roles rather than working on
pure IPO projects.

We also witnessed many strong candidates in the market receiving multiple offers
from different institutions, and being counter-offered from existing employers in
an attempt to retain them. This resulted in extreme frustration
in some cases between companies competing for the same candidates
in the market – as many were facing tight restrictions on budgets. With
a limited pool of local candidates, many employers also began to look for talent
internationally, especially in the areas of derivatives and capital markets. Some
of these overseas based candidates were offered minimum relocation packages
which included flights, freight allowance and at least
one month’s temporary accommodation.


In the first half of 2010 we witnessed a continued recovery in hiring across the
financial services industry with increased activity across all disciplines within
marketing and communications.

Headcount increases were highest during the first quarter, with the second
quarter more skewed towards replacement hires. Areas of particular growth were
corporate communications and events, teams which were most significantly
affected and downsized during the recent global recession.

Specific candidates in high demand were mid-to-senior level marketing

communications, PR and media relations candidates, particularly those with
financial services and media experience.

The supply chain, logistics and procurement recruitment market continued

its strong rebound from 2009 with an increased demand for candidates across all
functions, predominantly at middle to senior manager levels.

The banking and financial services sector led the demand for strategic sourcing
candidates, with many newly created category-specific regional positions.
Due to the short supply of such skill sets, we saw an increased willingness
from employers to look abroad for suitable talent. In addition, there was an
emergence of roles focusing on risk and vendor management as sourcing
departments continued to evolve into more specialised units.

Demand for contractors remained steady in the first half of 2010. Many assignments
were being offered on a contract-to-permanent basis, whereby firms with complex
permanent hiring processes used a contract offer to allow new joiners to commence
work whilst permanent headcount approval was taking place.

On the supply side, many candidates who would have considered contracting in
2009 have observed the increase in permanent roles and are now no longer open
to contracting. As such, the pool of skilled professionals willing to take on contract
assignments has significantly reduced. Having said that, the unstable economic
outlook in Europe is prompting a number of Hong Kong citizens working abroad
to return home, and many of these professionals have a preference for contract-
based assignments due to the popularity of contracting in markets such as London
and Paris. This trend is having a positive impact on the Hong Kong contract market
as these returning candidates help replenish the local talent pool with new skills.

Moving forward to the second half of 2010, we anticipate that demand for contract
resources will continue as many firms once again start imposing permanent
headcount restrictions.
permanent salary per annum

Role 1-4 YRS’ EXP 5-8 YRS’ EXP 8+ YRS’ EXP

Corporate Finance $240 - 780k $480 - 840k $1.6m - 2m+

Debt Capital Market $240 - 780k $480 - 840k $1.6m - 2m+
Equity Capital market $240 - 840k $480 - 840k $1.6m - 2m+
Sales - institutions $300 - 400k $400 - 840k $840k - 1.6m+
Relationship Manager $200 - 500k $300 - 720k $600k - 1.6m+

permanent salary per annum

Role 1-4 YRS’ EXP 5-8 YRS’ EXP 8+ YRS’ EXP

Market Risk
Management/ Modelling $400 - 600k $600k - 1.1m $1.4 - 1.4m
Controlling/ Reporting $360 - 500k $500 - 850k $800 - 1.1m+
Credit Risk
Investment/ Corporate Banking $400 - 650k $650k - 1.1m $1.1 - 1.4m
Investment/ Wealth Management $360 - 550k $550 - 900k $900 - 1.2m
Consumer Banking Operations $240 - 500k $500 - 750k $750 - 950k


Permanent Salary Contract Salary
Role per annum $HK per month $HK
Chief Financial Officer (8+ yrs’ exp) $1.6 - 2.2m+ $135 - 200k
Chief Operating Officer/ Business
Manager (8+ yrs’ exp) $1.5 - 2.0m+ $130 - 180k
Product Control - Derivatives
(8+ yrs’ exp) $1.1 - 1.5m+ $85 - 125k
Product Control - Vanilla (8+ yrs’ exp) $1.0 - 1.4m+ $85 - 125k
Management Reporting (8+ yrs’ exp) $900k - 1.2m+ $85 - 110k
Financial Reporting (8+ yrs’ exp) $900k - 1.2m+ $85 - 110k
Middle Office/ Trade Support
(8+ yrs’ exp) $900k - 1.1m+ $80 - 90k
Collateral Management (8+ yrs’ exp) $900k - 1.0m+ $80 - 90k
Settlements (8+ yrs’ exp) $750k - 1.0m+ $80 - 90k
Documentation (8+ yrs’ exp) $700k - 1.0m+ $80 - 90k
Global Market (8+ yrs’ exp) $1.1 - 1.5m+ $95 - 130k
Investment/ Wealth management
(8+ yrs; exp) $1.0 - 1.4m+ $90 - 120k
AML/ surveillance/ Control Room
(8+ yrs’ exp) $1.0 - 1.4m+ $90 - 120k
With over 25 years in the business of
Permanent Salary Contract Salary
recruitment, Robert Walters is firmly
Role per annum $HK per month $HK
established in Australia, Asia, Europe,
Internal Audit
Americas and New Zealand. Our
Global Market (8+ yrs’ exp) $950k - 1.3m+ $85 - 115k
emphasis is on building long-term
IT (8+ yrs’ exp) $900k - 1.2m+ $80 - 110k
relationships that provide an independent
Retail/ Business Services (8+ yrs’ exp) $800k - 1.1m+ $70 - 155k view to your recruitment challenges in the
Operational Risk Management following specialist areas:
Global Market (8+ yrs’ exp) $1.0 - 1.4m+ $90 - 120k
• Accounting & Finance
Infrastructure (8+ yrs’ exp) $800k - 1.1m+ $70 - 90k
Projects • Banking
Strategy (8+ yrs’ exp) $1.1 - 1.4m+ $90-120k • Business Support & Call Centre
Insurance/ IT (5-8+ yrs’ exp) $500k - 1.2m+ $45-110k • Construction & Engineering
• General Management
• Human Resources


• Legal
Permanent Salary Contract Salary • Sales & Marketing
Role per annum $HK per month $HK
• Supply Chain, Logistics & Procurement
HR Director (10+ yrs’ exp) $1.3m+ $110k+
Compensation & Benefits (6-10 yrs’ exp) $750k - 1.35m $60 - 110k
HR Generalist (6-10 yrs’ exp) $700k - 1.3m $55 - 115k
Payroll (6-10 yrs’ exp) $550k - 1.1m $45 - 100k ROBERT WALTERS
Office Manager (6-10 yrs’ exp) $480 - 800k $40 - 70k ASIA JOB INDEX
The Robert Walters Asia Job Index was
launched in Q2 2008 with a purpose
INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY of creating a quarterly employment
barometer for job markets across the
Permanent Salary Contract Salary region. Since its inception, the index has
Role per annum $HK per month $HK grown in scope and now covers China,
Chief Information Officer $1.7 - 2.7m $150 - 200k Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore. The
IT Director $1.3 - 2.2m $125 - 175k Asia Job Index is highly regarded as
Project Director $1.25 - 1.7m $110 - 150k
an informative source and its reports
Programme Manager $1.0 - 1.7m have been covered by numerous
$90 - 150k
ERP Project Manager mainstream and trade media around
$750k - 1.4m $60 - 125k
Asia. Many companies have also used
Business Analyst (4-6 yrs’ exp) $700k - 1.0m $65 - 90k
the Asia Job index as a reference for
their organisations’ research and strategy
reports. To subscribe, please visit

Permanent Salary
Role per annum $HK

7 yrs’ PQE $970k - 1.3m+
5 yrs’ PQE $880k - 1.1m+
3 yrs’ PQE $770 - 950k
Permanent Salary Christina Ng, Manager
Role per annum $HK Financial Services
Product Development Director (10+yrs exp) $1.30m+ T: +852 2103 5320
Head of Events (10+ yrs’ exp) $1.15m+ E:
Media Relations Director (10+ yrs’ exp) $1.15m+
Internal Communications Director (10+ yrs’ exp) $1.02m+ TY Lee, Manager
Front office division
T: +852 2103 5328
Genevieve Wong, Manager
Permanent Salary
Role per annum $HK
Human Resources
& Business Support division
VP Procurement (10+ yrs’ exp) $1.2 - 1.7m
T: +852 2103 5330
VP Real Estate/ Leasing (8+ yrs’ exp) $1.0 - 1.3m
AVP Procurement (6+ yrs’ exp) $700k - 1.0m

NB: Figures are basic salaries exclusive of benefits/ bonuses unless otherwise specified. Nicole Lui, Manager
Information Technology division
Sales & Marketing division
T: +852 2103 5344


WITH NEW BRAZILIAN OFFICE Sales & Marketing division
Robert Walters has opened its first office in Brazil to further strengthen its position T: +852 2103 5333
as one of the leading global specialist professional recruitment brands. Located E:
in the heart of the São Paulo business district, the office will specialise in permanent
recruitment for mid to senior level professionals across the commerce and financial
Ricky Mui, Manager
industries. The opening of the São Paulo office means that the Group now has
Legal division
38 offices in 18 countries.
T: +852 2103 5370
Simon Shoebridge, Senior Consultant
Robert Walters has expanded its legal recruitment division into Hong Kong and Supply Chain, Logistics
Singapore. Our consultants have a wealth of international legal recruitment & Procurement division
expertise within financial services, private practice and commerce and industry. T: +852 2103 5374
Roles we recruit for include qualified lawyers, general counsel, paralegal and E:
partners. For more information, please contact the following consultants:

Sommer Owens, Manager

For more information, please contact the following consultants: Contract Division
T: +852 2103 5343
Ricky Mui (Hong Kong) Jasmine Sim (Singapore)
T: +852 2103 5370 T: +65 6228 0238
E: E: