The banking and financial services industry transformed significantly throughout the pandemic. Some banks have shifted their focus from Western to Asian markets, while others have consolidated their business operations across the world.

In 2022, banks and financial institutions will continue to digitalise and restructure their businesses to stay agile and competitive, as well as to capitalise on the post-pandemic growth. Much of the growth projection in Hong Kong SAR’s banking and  financial services industry also hinges on when border control restrictions with mainland China and the rest of the world will be lifted.

in demand banking and finance jobs 2022
in demand banking and finance jobs 2022

front office job market outlook and salary trends

As the vast majority of banks have started building their digital presence and shifting their product offerings and services online, it could result in an overall slow growth in front-office services. However, we are observing talent demands sprouting elsewhere within the front office space that offer more specific services.

1. corporate and institutional banking

Faced with fewer commercial transactions from small enterprises, corporate banks have moved their focus to local midcap institutions and major companies in key growth sectors like biomanufacturing, pharmaceuticals, and e-commerce, as well as market growth in the Greater Bay Area.

In an effort to remain competitive in the employment market, a few international corporate and institutional banks had adjusted their bonus and salary packages to account for the market growth. We anticipate to see more corporate banks follow the trend of lifting salary and bonus freezes by the end of 2021 and match the new, post-pandemic salary rates.

2. private banking

The private banking industry experienced major segmentation restructuring in 2021 as some banks reshuffled their Asset Under Management (AUM) portfolios by jurisdictions, posing challenges for banks in onboarding new clients. Leading private banks are also exploring the inclusion of cryptocurrency trading as an option for some ultra-high-net-worth (UHNW) clients as a way to diversify their portfolios.

In 2022, the wage increase for private bankers who switch firms will be around 20% to 25%. Candidates who have excellent ties with UHNW clientele in the Greater China region could however expect an increase of 30% to 35%. Some employers may also offer a higher base salary, but they will also likely set higher KPIs for new joiners on such compensation packages.

3. retail /wealth management (semi-private)

The largest impact in retail and semi-private wealth management that we’ve observed during the course of the pandemic is digital transformation.

More and more banking customers are using digital platforms such as mobile apps and banking websites to perform simple everyday transactions as well as seek consultations on products and services. This has largely migrated traditional functions to online banking, reducing the talent demand for bank branch services.

4. sell-side (investment banking) and buy-side

In 2022, demand for portfolio and fund managers, trading personnel, and researchers will continue to rise on the buy-side. This corresponds to the expected increase in midcap firm IPOs in 2022. The need for buy-side private banking expertise has risen in tandem with the rising demand for sell-side private banking candidates.

risk and compliance job market outlook and salary snapshot

The risk and compliance market should see greater market demand given the evolving and tightening regulations in Asia, particularly Greater China. Financial institutions in Hong Kong SAR are also working on strengthening their risk management and compliance capabilities to better identify online frauds and criminal activities.

The emergence of cryptocurrency and digital banking around the world has also placed increasing pressure on risk and compliance teams to develop new protocols and processes that are more intuitive in detecting threats and protecting data. As such, candidates could expect a relatively large increment in salary growth as demand continues to rise.

The 2022’s bonus for risk professionals are expected to match the anticipated business demands. However, we’ve noted that candidates’ salary expectations remained unchanged and conservative at 15% to 20% increments when switching employers.

middle office and operations skills and talent trends

Since before the pandemic, banks and financial institutions around the world have invested extensively in digital transformation. The pandemic has only hastened such ambitions, and many banks have used automation and artificial intelligence (AI) to improve their operational workflow in order to stay competitive and boost production.

As a result, the workforce strategy for the middle office has changed significantly.

Major international banks have outsourced manual and administrative procedures that have yet to be automated to low-cost markets such as India, Malaysia and mainland China. This indicates that the local talent who are equipped with in-demand skills will be exposed to more new and high-value job opportunities in Hong Kong SAR.

Many companies are also looking for employees with project and change management experience for their operations departments.  It is necessary for these candidates to have a background in banking, as they will be required to use new digital technology to build high-quality processes and workflows that will drive productivity, reduce human errors and be compliant with the regulatory requirements.

internal audit jobs demand and salary forecast

Having an ‘agile audit strategy’ has become increasingly critical, especially in times of COVID-19. More and more banks are engaging external consultants to help them transition from traditional auditing to a more agile model that combines strategic research, planning, and execution.

To keep these new processes running smoothly, there has been a surge in demand for data analytics auditors with experience in business intelligence, data analytics, and risk identification. Auditors with knowledge of or certifications in data analytic tools like Tableau or KNIME are highly sought-after.

Internal auditors who are looking to switch employers in 2022 will likely receive a 15% to 20% wage increase.  Due to skills scarcity in the labour market, those who specialise in credit risk, global markets, or treasury will be able to command 20% more.

salary trend and talent demand for accounting and finance in banking

Due to the evolving and complex regulatory environment in Hong Kong SAR, the talent demand for senior-level CPA-qualified candidates for regulatory reporting (HKMA/FRR) remains particularly high in 2022.

Besides BAU work responsibilities, finance professionals are increasingly involved in projects like modernising GL accounting and core banking systems as well as system modifications to automate and improve the preparation of HKMA banking returns.

Accounting and finance professionals who work in banks and financial institutions can expect to receive a 15% to 18% wage increase when they change employers in 2021. The average bonus will also increase slightly from 1 to 2 months in 2021 to 1.5 to 2 months in 2022, reflecting the market recovery in Hong Kong following the pandemic.

download the digital copy of the 2022 Hong Kong SAR market outlook and salary snapshot

Hong Kong job market outlook
Hong Kong job market outlook

key highlights in the banking and financial services industry outlook in 2022

  • how job responsibilities and required skills have evolved to keep up with the digital transformation
  • anticipated job mobility of professionals across different levels of seniority and industries.
  • salary snapshot for more than 90 different banking and finance jobs in Hong Kong SAR.

read more on the latest trends in Hong Kong for 2022 in other industries:

If finding exceptional talent for your business is a key challenge or if you want to take your workforce ready for the future of work, please get in touch with us. You can also check our key areas of expertise in banking and financial services.

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