Hong Kong Cuts Expat Banking Jobs, New Job Prospects Look Slim

By Phoebe Kut, July 16, 2019

0 0

Hong Kong is known for its vibrant expat community, with a sizeable portion of the crowd working in banking. However, last Friday, Bloomberg reported that many employees in the banking sector have recently been laid off due to the changing landscape of the labor market.

Global firms such as Barclays, JP Morgan and Deutsche Bank used to hire in droves, but as of late even senior staff have been given the ax. The main factor can be attributed to global banks shifting their focus to China, with more of these firms looking for people with language skills (i.e. Mandarin) and networks on the Chinese mainland. These cuts will, unfortunately, affect more Western expats, while Chinese citizens reap the benefits.

Last week Deutsche Bank announced a massive reorganization which will look to “cut about half its equities staff in Asia and... reduce the group by another 25% within a month,” a source told Bloomberg. Some of those who have been laid off have deep ties to the city, living in the Fragrant Harbor for decades. With a sky-high cost of living, the question now is whether to take a demotion, switch jobs entirely or move out of the city.

A recently laid off Hong Kong Deutsche Bank employee said that “many of her colleagues plan to stay in Hong Kong and are looking at positions in banking, family offices, or asset management.” Another popular route post-finance life is cryptocurrency, as confirmed by an ex-Deutsche Bank employee, Su Zhu, who now runs a foreign exchange/cryptocurrency fund called Three Arrows Capital.

A European banker laid off from a top Asian bank said that “he took a holiday and is now pondering working in a start-up or even moving out of Hong Kong.”

Foreign employees now face competition from homegrown talent as banks can “choose from a widening pool of young professionals raised in Hong Kong who speak multiple languages, are familiar with Chinese culture, have trained overseas and don’t require expensive relocation packages.”

It appears that we are witnessing a turning of the tide when it comes to working in Hong Kong and the Far East. The conditions that have made the region an accessible place of employment for expats seeking white-collar professions are changing in favor of the local population. Unless job-seeking expats can start offering additional skills, such as bilingualism, it is hard to envisage a reversal of this current trend.

READ MORE: China Expat Packages Now 2nd Highest in Asia-Pacific

[Cover image via Unsplash]

more news

Useful Mandarin Phrases: Qingming Festival

From the name of the festival to its unique snacks, we've got you covered

Spotlight: Jocelyn Richards, Founder of Juicy Mandarin

Richards founded a popular Instagram account that teaches helpful, everyday Mandarin and which has quickly amassed a loyal following.

Useful Mandarin Phrases: New Year’s Celebrations

Greetings and well wishes to ring in 2020!

China Is Home to 4 of the 10 Most Expensive Cities for Expats

Time to ask your boss for a pay raise.

This City Was Ranked China's Most Attractive for Expats

You may not have needed a survey to confirm this, but this metropolis has yet again been named China’s most attractive city for expats.

Useful Mandarin Phrases: Taking a Taxi

From giving directions to paying for the ride, here is a list of essential taxi vocab!

2 Expats Face Investigation in Shenzhen for Racist Comments in WeChat Group

The two foreigners made reference to the Nanjing Massacre atrocity, while also using the slur 'Chink' on multiple occasions.

Expats Now Required to Renew China Work Permits Much Earlier

Don't forget to renew your work permit in time, otherwise you'll have to start the process all over from the beginning.

0 User Comments

In Case You Missed It…

We're on WeChat!

Scan our QR Code at right or follow us at thatsonline for events, guides, giveaways and much more!

7 Days in China With thatsmags.com

Weekly updates to your email inbox every Wednesday


Download previous issues

Never miss an issue of That's Magazines!

Visit the archives

Get the App. Your essential China city companion.