Business / Economy

Robust future for financial talent in 2015 as salaries rise

By SHI JING (China Daily) Updated: 2014-12-18 08:00

Most professionals have optimistic view, especially in first-tier cities

Despite the economic slowdown and less promising outlook predicted by many organizations, finance professionals are still confident of better employment opportunities in China next year, a survey said on Wednesday.

According to the report jointly prepared by global specialist recruiting group Hays and the New York Stock Exchange-listed online recruitment service provider Zhaopin Ltd, about 69 percent of the 1,066 polled financial professionals said they would ask for a pay rise next year, and 54 percent of them said they would expect their salaries to increase by 16 percent or more in 2015.

About 23 percent of the respondents said they were still unsure if they would ask for a rise. Only 8 percent said they would not ask for an increase in salary next year.

Salary expectations for those who plan to change jobs next year are even higher, with 28 percent of the respondents indicating that they would like to see their salary go up by 31 percent or more in the new job.

Financial sector professionals from first-tier cities will earn higher salaries than their counterparts in second-tier cities, with the wage difference being around 21 percent next year. The gap between the two groups of cities is even larger in areas like the banking, funds, investment, and securities industries.

With more Chinese companies listing their shares in overseas markets, confidence levels have remained high for financial professionals working in fund houses, investment and securities organizations. For these specific sectors, the average salary for professionals working in first-tier cities is 20 percent higher than those working in second-tier cities.

But Hays has also uncovered a few professions where salaries in second-tier cities outperform those in first-tier cities. With a growing number of banks tapping into the western regions of the country, branch managers and deputy branch managers are in higher demand in second-tier cities. As a result, Hays has found that the average salary of corporate banking branch managers and deputy branch managers in the second-tier cities is 25 percent higher than for their peers in the first-tier cities.

The findings from Hays also show that the average salary of an investment account director in Chongqing is the highest among all respondents in first- and second-tier cities. According to Hays experts, it is largely a result of the central government's supportive policy of accelerating the adoption of the Western financial system, encouraging the growth of banks, securities firms and other financial institutions.

With the rapid growth of the Chinese Internet industry as a whole, Internet finance professionals are now highly sought after in both first- and second-tier cities. Some lenders even offer double salaries to attract senior candidates, the Hays report said.

Simon Lance, regional director of Hays in China, said that more such candidates will be needed in major cities such as Beijing, Shenzhen, Guangzhou and Shanghai.

Evan Guo, chief executive officer of Zhaopin Ltd, said the Internet finance talent pool comprises professionals from banks, insurance and technology companies. He said that he has been receiving complaints from insurance companies lately about their core t staff being aggressively approached by the fast-growing Internet finance companies.

"Internet finance companies have huge demand for four kinds of talent-those with the ability to develop online products and professionals involved in marketing, risk management and information technology. Demand for such talent is growing rapidly, and it is still too early to say how long the euphoria will last. But it is certain that the demand will last throughout 2015," said Guo.

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