China suffers a critical shortage of financial talent:

Can your career benefit?
Updated: 20 Jan 2016

China’s rapidly expanding banking and financial services sectors are experiencing a severe talent squeeze as recruiters clamour to find appropriately skilled individuals, according to recruiting experts Hays.

In the latest Hays Journal, the recruiter notes that most employers in China report greater difficulty in securing talented banking candidates than a year ago. According to the eFinancialCareers China Talent Survey, 95 per cent of finance industry professionals report a skills shortage in the current market, with nearly three in ten (28 per cent) describing the situation as ‘chronic’.

“The shortage of talent is so acute because a number of major international players are looking to further expand their market presence in China,” said Emma Charnock, Regional Director of Hays in China and Hong Kong. “But there is a shortage of candidates in China with the necessary skills and experience to meet demand.

“Of course profound demographic changes in China are also fuelling the huge demand for skilled workers, with more people retiring than entering the workforce. Adding to the shrinking talent pool is the movement of people and business between the coastal megacities and the expanding cities of China’s vast interior, and multinational businesses are scaling up their workforces.

“Also adding to the need for talent is Shanghai’s ambition to become an international financial hub to rival New York and London.

“Most in demand are candidates experienced in asset management and those with financial institution and limited liability company relationship management experience. Candidates with skills in financial analysis, financial modelling, asset management and loan servicing are also sought after.

“Banks have been big recruiters in the second tier cities, as they steadily increase their presence after the Chinese government relaxed foreign banking regulations. Banks are expanding their retail banking operations, corporate banking, trade finance and corporate loan products, while several heavy-weight banking institutions have moved their back offices from Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore to China.”

If you are a banking professional interested in working in mainland China, Hays has this advice:
• Language skills: Most Hong Kong professionals have Chinese language skills. But for expats originally from outside Hong Kong, it is worth noting that for some senior management roles in mainland China, fluent English plus conversational mandarin is fine. For some senior finance technology positions, where talent is very difficult to find, Mandarin is not a requirement and the skill-set is instead the priority.

• Understand the culture: Most Hong Kong professionals can adapt to the working environment easily and have a good understanding of people behaviour and business tradition. But be mindful of the differences in values, cultural beliefs, skills, education and background that vary between cities and provinces in mainland China.

• Transfer: Your simplest route into the Chinese market is often through an internal transfer with your existing company, so join an organisation with offices in mainland China.

• Location: Speak to your recruiter about where the opportunities exist. Faster career paths are often available in second tier cities.

• Overcome stability concerns: Expect to be asked questions about your stability and long term plans to stay in mainland China.

Hays, the world’s leading recruiting experts in qualified, professional and skilled people.

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About Hays

Hays is the leading global specialist recruiting group. It is the expert at recruiting qualified, professional and skilled people worldwide. It operates across the private and public sectors, dealing in permanent positions, contract roles and temporary assignments.

As at 30 June 2011, Hays employed 7,620 staff operating from 255 offices in 31 countries across 20 specialisms. For the year ended 30 June 2011, Hays reported net fees of £672 million and operating profit of £114 million and placed around 60,000 candidates into permanent jobs and around 190,000 people into temporary assignments. 31% of Group net fees were generated in Asia Pacific.

Hays operates in the following countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, China, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UAE, the United Kingdom and the USA.

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