Randstad Hong Kong’s 2023 market and salary outlook report includes key labour trends and employer insights on salaries, bonuses, hiring outlooks and talent expectations. Download the full report for more information to guide your talent attraction and workforce planning strategy in 2023.

shortage of skilled professionals frustrates banks and financial institutions.

The banking industry will experience a further tightening job market in 2023, as financial and banking institutions are stuck in a double whammy.

Not only is the number of job opportunities exceeding the talent supply, but candidates are also more hesitant to change jobs because of the poorer economic climate.

Companies are adjusting their salary benchmarks to retain their staff and attract new talent with the necessary skills. For some highly sought-after talent, specifically with analytical and technical skills, these salary increments can be as high as 30%.

in-demand banking jobs in hong kong 2023
in-demand banking jobs in hong kong 2023

in-demand front office jobs and skills 2023

1. retail banking & wealth management

While traditional banks may be hesitant to digitise their financial and bank products and platforms in the past, global competition and increasing customers’ expectations have encouraged the industry to take a leap of faith forward in the right direction in shifting to automation and digital banking.

This has led to the creation of more high-value jobs within the front office space in the banking industry with fewer job takers.

 Employers from wealth management and financial services companies, along with private and retail banks have sought alternative solutions to fill the talent gap, such as hiring from adjacent industries and training them to fulfil roles within the mass-affluent relationship management.

 With the biggest customers still from mainland China, many private bankers and wealth managers are eagerly waiting for borders to re-open to resume business travels.

 2. global and corporate banking

Owing to the global economic slowdown in 2022, structured finance transactions have weakened, and the merger and acquisition (M&A) market has also plummeted to a record low.

Corporations are also expected to tighten their credit appetite in 2023 to manage liabilities and cash flows in anticipation of an impending downturn.

 Regarding the Greater China business, many major corporate banks have trimmed their commercial real estate portfolio in mainland China, which has led to a sharp decline in structured real estate deals.

 There has also been some restructuring within international subsidiary teams in foreign corporate banks, as some headcount has been shifted to other markets for business continuity amid travel restrictions in Hong Kong SAR.

 Given the rising interest rates and poor credit environment, corporate banks will shift their focus to offering corporate deposits and cash products to their customers.

Corporate banks that have strong transaction capabilities would need to hire more banking and financial talent or drive internal mobility to gain an advantage from the anticipated market shift.

job market trends in securities and investment banking

1. fixed income commodities and currency sales & trading

Global FX treasury businesses are benefiting from the upward trend on FX volatility as companies demonstrated strong liquid forecasting precisions against the backdrop of currency volatility and inflation.

financial jobs salary increase 2023
financial jobs salary increase 2023

There is hence a very strong demand for talent, especially on a junior level to gain a deeper understanding of current trends and expand the business. To grow their workforce, some financial firms are offering up to 50% salary increments to job seekers.

2. investment banking: equities/debt capital markets

In 2023, we expect to see the equities capital market and debt capital market diversify its investments into data centres, supply chain and logistics as well as real estate. Private equity firms will be looking into long-term investments within healthcare, biotechnology as well as environmental, social and governance (ESG) projects.

These investment areas will experience a corresponding demand for financial talent, albeit at a slower rate as companies prioritise retaining and redeploying their staff members.

3. investment management

The new Hong Kong Investment Corporation (HKIC) will set aside HK$30 billion under the Future Fund to form the Co-Investment Fund to attract businesses to invest in the city.

This not only brings about much-needed relief to the investment management industry but also lifts investors’ confidence, with local enterprises and start-ups being the biggest beneficiaries.

The Financial Services and Treasury Bureau (FSTB) has also proposed tax concessions to attract more family offices to set up in Hong Kong SAR. Regulators are also preparing licences for digital finance and currency investments, which would see a pick-up in fintech activities.

On the labour market front, top-tier asset managers will dominate the recruitment scene, taking up as many as 60% of active openings.

banking middle office job trends in 2023

1. risk management

In view of global market volatility, financial firms are beefing up their risk management capabilities as the first line of defence.

This has driven up talent competition as banks, securities, fintechs and virtual banks are all hiring from the same and diminishing pool of risk management professionals.

The demand for credit risk managers with strong backgrounds in real estate, technology and corporate sectors will continue to be in demand to control the rising credit risks attributed to the geopolitical risks from China’s property and tech markets.

Financial institutions will also be hiring special asset managers or distressed asset risk managers to meet the increasing talent demand for specialists who can resolve defaults on loans.

Talent with experiences in non-performing loans, underwriting, credit exposure recovery and managing difficult negotiations with customers will be highly sought-after.

Talent looking to switch employers in 2023 can expect a 20% to 25% salary increment, even for lateral moves. Companies are also accounting for inflation and are offering a 3% to 10% pay increase to retain their risk managers.

2. compliance

One of the employers’ biggest challenges is the increasing salary expectations, as candidates are willing to walk away from offers that do not match their expectations.

Not only are companies offering a higher salary, but they also have to go above and beyond to block counteroffers, which are between 25% and 30% for compliance advisory and niche roles.

Compliance professionals seeking lateral moves are expecting a pay increase of between 15% and 25%.

in-demand compliance jobs n 2023
in-demand compliance jobs n 2023

The in-demand compliance talent in 2023 can be found in:

  • Know-your-customer (KYC), anti-money laundering (AML) in private banking - Employers are actively hiring candidates with expertise in investment suitability and selling practices.

  • Global market compliance advisory for equities and FICC - While companies are mostly replacing headcounts due to attrition, investment firms are also creating new positions to strengthen their capabilities.

  • Monitoring and surveillance managers - Talent who have strong IT knowledge in programming are sought-after to develop customised in-house surveillance and e-communication systems.

Candidates choosing to stay with their current employers can expect a 5% to 10% salary increase in 2023.

3. internal audit

Global banks are committed to building their internal audit resources and capabilities in Hong Kong SAR to continue serving the Asia Pacific region.

Moving forward into 2023, we expect to see an increase in recruitment for three main areas:

  • Global markets auditors who have strong knowledge of products as well as sales and trading processes in equity derivative (EQD), FICC and treasury.

  • Credit risk auditors to manage the tightening credit environment and increasing regulatory requirements across multiple financial markets.

  • IT auditors from consultancy backgrounds would be highly sought-after to develop and enhance internal systems. With the increasing regulatory and data privacy requirements, financial firms will be stepping up on protecting their internal controls and data to prevent unexpected, sophisticated IT breaches.

Given the economic uncertainty and the impact of the external environment, Hong Kong's talent would be concerned about their job and income stability.

4. middle office and operations

Financial institutions are facing a severe shortage of middle office and operations talent, especially at the middle to senior levels.

Employers are offering more contract roles to quickly onboard talent to ensure business continuity while still providing flexibility to the business.

Operations professionals who are highly skilled in project management and data processing will continue to be in demand in 2023.

2023 labour trends in banking back office

accounting and finance

Some financial institutions are offering a 20% to 25% salary increment to secure top-tier talent, which is usually blocked by another counteroffer.

To retain employees, firms are expected to offer a 2-month bonus pay-outs as well as flex benefits, new technology devices and hybrid work.

In 2023, we expect to see demand for three specialised areas within the accounting and finance profession:

  • Regulatory reporting will continue to be a key recruitment focus as companies prepare to meet the new reporting requirements set out by HKMA and Securities and Futures Commission (SFC).

  • System finance skills would be needed to continue the ongoing automation and process improvement projects.

  • Business finance requirements have become more complex and advanced today. Employers are looking for candidates with good commercial and product knowledge and a forward-thinking mindset to partner with different stakeholders to support the financial growth of the company. 

download the randstad hong kong’s 2023 market and salary outlook report

The 2023 Hong Kong’s Market Outlook and Salary Snapshot report looks at talent analysis and new salary benchmarks in the following industries:

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