TAG | jobs in Hong Kong
The hours can be long and it can sometimes be exhausting working more than 12 hours a day but I love representing people whom I know will make a positive impact in their next move.
On Tuesday morning, I had a coffee meeting with a gentleman called David*, who combines commercial vision, integrity and passion.
Having started his career as a chartered accountant, his vision and energy led him across the world and beyond finance. David exudes energy – this is a person who has run marathons alongside running a company – he sat at the board level of a US listed company where he transformed the business, re-organising the entire Asian operations, saving over a million US dollars in the process.
What struck me about David was that he does not just want to find a job – he wants to make a difference. He’s not just looking for an employer to pay his bills; he wants to be part of something he believes in. He won’t accept short cuts but will eliminate inefficiencies. It was refreshing to meet someone with a lifetime of tangible success combined with humility and humour.
At the end of my coffee I explained to David that I cannot make him any promises in terms of finding him a suitable role – but the time I spent with him gave me fresh insights into how a business should be run and what it means to be a leader.
Could your organisation benefit from you networking with someone of this calibre? Even if you are not hiring right now, contact me if you could benefit from having a coffee with someone with a vision beyond finance.
*Not his real name.
‘I started job hunting last week and I was introduced to a job opportunity through a recruiter. The whole process went very smoothly and I had breezed through the first and second round of interviews within a week. The following week, I was offered the job. I’m not sure if this is the best opportunity available in the jobs market and whether I will be able to ask for a higher salary in another company. Should I accept the offer or reject it and look around longer?’ he asked.
Some professionals may have experienced the same situation before, leaving them to feel that they may be missing out on other potential job opportunities in the market if they accept an offer at the early stages of job hunting. If you find yourself in a similar situation, ask yourself the following question before making the final decision:
“What are the top 3 most important criteria you need to consider before you accept an offer? Is it salary increment, company size, the location, the role itself, or even the chemistry with the boss?”
If the offer you have right now fulfills your top 3 criteria, than I believe this is a good opportunity and you should consider accepting it. You never know when the next one will come, and you may be losing out on a good opportunity which has appeared in front of you at the right time.
Job search is not measured by how long it takes or how many interviews you have gone through, but it is all about why you started the job search in the first place, and whether the offer in front of you can fulfill your expectations and requirements in order to lead you to your next career step.
According to a recent article, ‘Asia-Pacific Financial Job Market Remains Steady’ by CFO Innovations Asia, it is anticipated that there will be an increase in recruitment activity in asset management, global custody and compliance areas for the second half of 2012.
Being a specialist recruiter in the asset management industry in Hong Kong, I have to admit that buy-side hiring seemed to be the least affected by the global financial turmoil, compared to the investment banks.
In the past six months, turnover has remained relatively high in the front office; multiple distribution/wholesale sales managers have been moving to competitors. Additionally, I have witnessed an increasing number of marketing and client servicing opportunities in the market. Although there are hidden openings here and there, the majority are critical replacements hires due to headcount limitations. From the conversations I have had with HR and management in fund houses, they do not foresee any expansion in the remaining two quarters of this year.
Besides the long-only asset managers, alternative investments with a particular focus in private equity and exchange-traded fund (ETF) seem to have picked up quite a bit. A number of US and China based PE funds are recruiting heavily from the investment banks, trying to take advantage of the influx of IBD professionals who are passionate to make a move to the buy-side.
For those who are not familiar with ETF, it is a security that tracks an index, a commodity or a basket of assets like an index fund, but trades like a stock on an exchange. Given the volatility of the current market situation, investors have started to diversify their investments into ETF for their low costs, tax efficiency and stock-like features. In the past few months, a number of ETF providers have entered the market and there has been an increase in ETF sales, product development and portfolio management vacancies.
Hopefully the optimism in the asset management hiring market will be reflected across the rest of the financial services sector in the remainder of 2012.
I have elected to dedicate this blog to ignore the endless tide of negative press stories and to post some positive news to share with you.
On the recruitment front:
- In June we took on more new job mandates from employers that we work with across Asia than we have done for 18 months
- In June we also had more requests from employers to interview professionals than we have done for 12 months
- Last month, the US saw 163,000 new jobs created – far more than analysts were expecting.
On the business front:
- Mario Draghi pledges to do ‘whatever it takes’ to save Euro… At last, a positive statement of intent regarding a crisis/long series of lunches by European bureaucrats, which seems to have been going on for several eons
- China’s manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) hit a five-month high of 49.5 in July
- Investors are pouring into South-East Asian stock markets, with bourses in Manila, Ho Chi Minh, Bangkok and Singapore all seeing double-digit rises this year
- Malaysia! Last month state oil company Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) announced the country’s largest ever outbound takeover. Add two very large (successful IPO’s), it now boasts three of the largest capital markets deals in Asia this year
- The Hang Seng index has increased 22% in value since October last year.
The bizarre, ridiculous and inspiring:
- In the US, ‘Pooh’ the Poodle saved her blind owners life, by smelling a gas leak and leading her out of her home
- In London, Dana Vollmer, beat the woman’s world record for the 100 meter butterfly on her way to Olympic gold. The fact that she overcome a potentially life threatening heart condition she was diagnosed with at the age of 15 en route to doing so is exactly the sort of thing Winnie the old British bulldog was talking about.
The best coffee shops are the ones where the staff knows your name and the barista knows your order the moment you walk into the store. They treasure your business and are happy (or pretend to be) when I shuffle in like a zombie every morning.
It takes the Starbucks barista at my local Starbucks 5 seconds to draw the smiley face on my coffee cup. This little bit of extra effort has far-reaching implications. Personally I am a coffee snob, there are ‘better’, cheaper and physically closer alternatives for me to choose, however over time with their effort unconsciously I will tend to choose their product over other choices. Their personalised touch will enhance my loyalty to them and I’m more likely to keep buying my coffee there.
There are examples of companies that put in extra effort in many service industries: restaurants that automatically know your details when you call for a return meal, or credit card companies that offer you special deals on your birthday. There are three laundromats within a 50m radius of my house, Raymond is not the cheapest (or the cleanest) but I always drop off my laundry at his shop as he will always says ‘Hello!’ and wave to me whenever I walk past his shop.
In our industry, people that put in that extra 2% of effort throughout the interview process will give themselves an edge over others, which is ever so important in this environment. Writing a thank you note after an interview or bringing up a recent company milestone in an interview should help you to stand out. The world IS small; if you aren’t successful in winning the job this time, there is a high chance you may work with that individual some time in the future or in another company if you’ve created a positive impression.
No matter what you do for work, when you boil it down those who are most successful are those that excel at building personal relationships. A little bit of effort goes a long way, those who put more effort into developing genuine and personalised relationships will differentiate themselves against their competitors.
Until next time!
Morgan McKinley’s 2012 Salary Guide is now available. It provides market intelligence on remuneration and hiring trends across the financial services sector and commerce & industry organisations in Hong Kong.
We hope you find our Hong Kong Salary Guide 2012 informative. If you have any questions, feedback or would like to discuss any of the findings, please contact us directly.
Having just moved to Hong Kong with Morgan McKinley, it’s crazy to think that the FTSE dropped more than 10% while I was sitting on a beach in Thailand en route from London…
Out here though, whilst certainly not immune to developments in Europe and the US, it seems that there has been plenty of hiring activity over the last 18 months. All the bulge bracket investment banks are here as you’d expect, and from the recent hires they’ve made, they mean business both here in Hong Kong and on the mainland. It seems that despite the current problems in the West, they are investing here for the long term and it looks like a very exciting time to be in recruitment in Hong Kong.
It’s early days for yours truly, but ECM, M&A, equity research and prime brokerage, all appear to have real growth potential which is very encouraging.
Hong Kong is a busy, bustling, exciting city with plenty going on and it’s hot here…very hot, which is fine by me! Having just found myself a flat I’m really looking forward to settling in and exploring the city and the New Territories.
I’m also looking forward to the Rugby World Cup, and from what I saw last weekend, Hong Kong is going to be a brilliant place to experience it! Will New Zealand choke again? – I sincerely hope so!