Regaining consumer confidence and digital transformation will be the two key priorities for Hong Kong SAR’s banking and financial services industry in 2024. This would involve concerted efforts across front, middle and back offices, as financial institutions navigate the increasingly complex and competitive environment.

Financial services are gearing up for a new era of digital transformation, aiming to improve customer experiences by streamlining processes and digitising products and solutions. Following the introduction of more structured regulations, digital assets, cryptocurrencies and digital assets firms are expected to build their workforce capabilities. This move aims to drive digitalisation efforts and intensify competition within the industry, marking a pivotal era for innovation and finance transformation.

Stay ahead in the dynamic job landscape and secure top talent in 2024 with Randstad Hong Kong's Market and Salary Guide report. Uncover key labour trends and gain valuable market insights into salaries, bonuses, hiring trends and talent expectations in the contracting job industry for roles in technology as well as banking and financial services.

Access the complete report to enhance your competitive edge on your talent attraction and refine your workforce planning strategy in 2024.

banking and financial services industry trends 2024
banking and financial services industry trends 2024

front office

Middle-sized corporate banks from the Middle East, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan will continue to compete for market share in 2024. Western investment banks may also continue to see further consolidation and rightsizing exercises with the challenges stemming from China’s slow post-COVID recovery and its ongoing property crisis.

Amid the backdrop of a more conservative hiring strategy in 2024, employers have higher expectations when hiring bankers and relationship managers. Organisations are looking for talent who are bilingual or trilingual proficient in English, Cantonese and Mandarin. Those who can effectively communicate with clients in Japanese and Korean are also highly sought-after. 

Traders and portfolio managers are also required to have some programming expertise to manage and personalise pricing, risk management and trade management platforms. Employers are actively looking for candidates with expertise in data analytics and proficiency in using data visualisation platforms. 

Professionals in front office roles are anticipated to seek a 20% salary increment from their new employers in 2024. Meanwhile, those who choose to remain with their current employers can expect a salary increase ranging from 5% to 10%.

middle office - risk management

The overall market condition points a distinct trend toward a highly replacement-driven market, marked by conservative cost-saving measures across the banking industry. Impacted by the downturn in the equity market, both investment banks and securities brokerage firms have reduced their workforce and enforced headcount freezes.

in-demand risk management jobs
in-demand risk management jobs

These changes have created a surplus of experienced senior professionals in the job market. Companies are opting for middle-level professionals as replacements to develop strategies and do the groundwork to ensure a steady momentum. 

Despite the challenges in certain sectors, we have also observed a steady hiring pace in corporate and retail banking, which is less affected by the high interest rate environment. Employers are also more likely to allocate resources to credit monitoring, special situations and debt recovery. 

middle office - compliance

There is a notable increase in talent demand for Anti-Money Laundering (AML) positions, particularly for roles in Fraud and Sanctions. However, this surge is counterbalanced marked by a notable decline in demand for regional compliance talent.

The rightsizing and reorganisation initiatives undertaken by financial firms in Asia over recent years have led to a restructuring of their compliance functions. Foreign institutions have consolidated or downsized their risk and compliance functions, resulting in a shift towards hiring risk and compliance professionals with diverse sets of skills instead of subject matter experts. 

On the other hand, cryptocurrency and payment firms will have a larger appetite for compliance and risk management talent. Experience in navigating the complex regulatory landscape in the digital finance industry is crucial to building consumer confidence. Job seekers are increasingly exploring opportunities in payments, insurance, fintech, and reputable Chinese companies based in Hong Kong SAR.

in demand jobs in digital assets
in demand jobs in digital assets

Junior job seekers, earning HKD40,000 and below, expect salary increments between 15% and 25% when they switch employers, while middle-level talent will see more conservative salary expectations ranging from 8% to 15% pay increase. 

middle and back office - operations

Hiring for operations roles in Hong Kong SAR, particularly those in Western banks, will continue to see low activity, with the majority of opportunities for replacement roles. However, we also expect to see more active hiring activities within the settlements and credit administration departments. 

Recruitment for know-your-customer (KYC) professionals, which was muted in 2023, is expected to pick up in private banking and wealth management in 2024. This shift is driven by banks capitalising on incoming customers from mainland China looking to diversify their financial portfolios. 

middle and back office - finance and accounting

Within traditional banking, we see a robust demand for skilled professionals in IT audit, treasury audit as well as asset and liability management. 

Market-rate salary increments when switching employers reflect the current demand and supply of talent. Junior professionals can expect up to 25% salary increment, while middle-level professionals earning between HKD60,000 and HKD80,000 can negotiate for up to 15%. However, senior-level professionals earning HKD80,000 may have to settle for a lateral move in terms of salary or consider accepting a pay cut as they seek greater job stability.

Employers are looking for talent with experience in FRR reporting, NAV functions as well as SFC 1, 4 and 9. As the cryptocurrency firms expected to grow their presence and operations in 2024, the demand for talent with SFC type 7 licence is also expected to increase. 

We also anticipate to see more talent demand in regulatory reporting as financial institutions focus on Granular Data Reporting (GDR) under HKMA and IBOR implementation in the first quarter of 2024. Fund accounting professionals will also be highly popular as most organisations typically need to have at least two headcounts to ensure accurate reviews and reporting. 

download hong kong SAR’s 2024 market and salary outlook report

The 2024 Randstad Hong Kong SAR’s Market and Salary Outlook report looks at talent analyses, key trends and new salary benchmarks in the following industries:

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