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Press Release | APAC Employment Monitor - Q3 2014 | Financial Services job opportunities across Asia-Pacific region rise 39% year-on-year


  • Job vacancies rose by 39% between Q3 2013 and Q3 2014
  • Job vacancies rose by 13% from Q2 2014 to Q3 2014
  • The number of professionals actively seeking employment was down 4% from Q2 2014 to Q3 2014

The Q3 2014 Asia Pacific Employment Monitor recorded a 13% increase in financial services jobs vacancies – up from 13,576 vacancies in Q2 2014 to 15,316 in Q3 2014.  Yearly figures also indicate that hiring has significantly increased, with job opportunities up 39% in Q3 2014 compared to the same quarter in 2013, when there were 11,032 roles registered. Regarding professionals looking for new career opportunities, the market has slipped slightly from 33,033 in Q2 to 31,581 in Q3.

Richie Holliday, Chief Operations Officer, Asia Pacific commented on the following markets which Morgan McKinley operates in:


“The Banking and Financial Services market has bounced back in Japan. Despite the Bank of Japan’s latest report predicting only a moderate recovery in the economy, it is fair to say that we have felt business sentiment to be quite solid. The fall-off in demand following the consumption tax increase has been quite highly publicised but in terms of growth we have seen a 13% year on year growth in the number of financial service vacancies in Q3 and a 30% increase for the year to date. The weaker Yen has also, no doubt, lessened the need for global institutions to look for lower cost locations and removed  a number of the barriers that have prevented hiring taking place in Japan over the past several years. 

Employee income is now increasing across industries, in both Japanese and foreign-owned firms. The prediction is for this to increase as we finish out the year and go into 2015.

At Morgan McKinley we are noticing that financial services companies are increasingly prepared to pay and offer increments if the candidate brings the right kind of skills and experience. Demand has been significantly higher all year and this is a trend we see continuing into 2015, with a number of hiring managers already interviewing professionals in anticipation of their needs going into next year. Native-level Japanese combined with proficiency in English remains an essential requirement for most vacancies. Equity Sales and Trading professionals remain high in demand, as do junior level middle office trade & sales support professionals and Business Analysts. 


“Sydney’s drop from within a list of the top 20 attractive financial centres has been relentless. In 2007 it was 9th on the list, 11th in 2009, it placed No. 16 in 2012, yet in 2014 it landed at 23rd spot. According to the Z/Yen Group index, Sydney ranks behind Hong Kong, Singapore, Tokyo  and Shanghai in the region.

The survey ranked financial centres on the business environment (levels of regulation), the availability of human capital, tax settings, infrastructure, reputation and financial sector development.

Despite this, the areas where we have seen growth in employment include strategy, project management and compliance, though the environment is still very competitive for individuals seeking new roles. Hiring organisations are looking for professionals who are strategic thinkers and who can not only meet their compliance objectives, but progress them. Demand is especially strong for compliance professionals who can step into middle and assistant manager roles. In many other financial roles teams have been getting leaner and there is a continuing preference for contract staff.  Regarding  strategy and project management roles, digital transformation is a key area for big banks and hiring talent who have experience in moving and transforming organisations to digital is a highly sought after.

We have also made some interesting observations in the working environment. Our Morgan McKinley Working Hours Survey 2014 revealed that professionals are working longer hours than their counterparts elsewhere in the APAC region, with 91% of those surveyed saying that they worked beyond their contracted hours.  The effect of these long days on work-life balance is clear
with 92% of respondents stating that the extra hours have some impact, or impact heavily, on their personal lives. 

Mainland China

“Employees and employers in Banking and Financial Services sector are facing a unique set of challenges in China as the sector is further liberalised and faces an acute talent shortage. Collectively, foreign banks account for just 2% of the market and employ 44,000 professionals. But, according to the Foreign Banks in China report, published earlier this year by PwC, they are “struggling to find and retain talent” in face of a “rapid improvement in career prospects” at Chinese institutions. Employees at local banks receive higher salaries early in their careers, pay less tax, work shorter hours and do not have to learn English.

Generally speaking the Chinese banking sector is difficult to enter for both new and experienced professionals in functions such as Finance, Compliance, Risk and Operations.

Many banking professionals in China also change their jobs frequently, especially Generation Y candidates. Take compliance and risk function as an example.  In China there is growing economic confidence - but this is coupled with financial uncertainty as well as a general increase in risk awareness. These factors are contributing to a more buoyant recruitment market, chiefly focused on compliance and risk at the middle management level.

Given the shortage of talent, hiring organisations are likely to face high salary demands and candidates also have many more opportunities to move up the corporate ladder in compliance and risk functions.

Hong Kong

“Hong Kong has maintained its position as the region’s leading financial centre and the third-ranked worldwide. Hong Kong has a rating of 756 in the Global Financial Centres Index, only behind New York (778) and London (777) according to the latest figures. Morgan McKinley recently won the Recruitment International Hong Kong Award for Banking and Financial Services Recruitment Company of the Year which was an honour to receive,  particularly in highly-competitive market. 

Private bankers remain highly sought after by all sorts of firms in  Hong Kong, from top-tier, large organisations to boutique private banks. The challenge to secure top talent continues, with a premium paid for top performers who can bring their book of clients with them when they join. However, we expect a more conservative approach to pay, as the industry is in consolidation mode and we will see banks recruiting in accordance with stricter salary benchmarking. The average increment we have seen recently is around 10 to 18 per cent.

In contrast, the strict salary matrix doesn't necessarily apply to candidates in the areas of internal control, business development and support, or investment suitability projects. With frequent changes to regulation requirements coming from the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, private banks are more willing to pay attractive salaries to secure talent from their competitors. In these areas, we have recently seen exceptional candidates securing increments of as much as 20 to 25 per cent.

Whilst the political landscape in Hong Kong remains ‘under-review’ and the demonstrations in Central and Admiralty have caused some disruption especially to the retail industry, it does seem to be a case of ‘business as usual’ with many organisations in the market.  It may perhaps be too early to see the full impact of this disruption but we remain optimistic that Hong Kong will continue to be an attractive choice to businesses.


“There have been several mergers within the Singapore fund administration industry this year while we have also seen some accounting service firms moving into the private equity fund administration industry. There has been a significant push for private equity fund clients in most of the fund admin business. However, the majority of the traditional fund administration businesses are maintaining their client bases.

In 2015 we are likely to see more fund admin players entering the country as the Monetary Authority of Singapore plans to strengthen the industry and attract more players. There are currently about 20 Fund Admin businesses in Singapore (including the banks) but only four or five of them cover private equity fund administration.

Hedge fund administrators are expanding their average team size to 40-50 and some of the leading hedge fund administrators have expanded up to 200 headcount in Singapore.

‘In demand’ roles that we have noted recently include those in the field of: fund accounting; private equity fund accounting (junior-level); private equity fund administration (mid management AVP and VPs); project and change and general technology recruitment remain buoyant.  Additionally some corporate secretarial roles; middle office trade support roles; and transfer agency corporate action roles have proven to be recent areas of hot interest for hiring.  Finally we’ve experienced also an uptick in demand for sales directors, MDs in fund administration and and Senior MD level positions in custody.

The larger banks based in Singapore were bullish about headcount numbers in the compliance discipline at the start of 2014 but, even despite the regulatory breaches that have been in the news, we note that the predicted hiring numbers have, thus far, not come to fruition. Nevertheless, we have seen growth elsewhere in the market so candidates should consider their options carefully.  Interestingly, we’ve seen a slowdown in the risk market in Q3.”


Further press information:
Hiromi Nakagawa
Tel:  +81 3 5403 7073

Alternatively, please contact the Press Office at


Morgan McKinley APAC Employment Monitor

Morgan McKinley’s APAC Employment Monitor provides quarterly data on new professional job availability and on professional job seeker availability in the Financial Services sector. The figures in this press release are derived from Morgan McKinley’s own internal data from jobs released by employers and professionals registering in conjunction with market share figures and knowledge of the market.

About Morgan McKinley

Morgan McKinley is a global professional services recruiter connecting specialist talent with leading employers across multiple industries and disciplines. With offices across Ireland,the UK, EMEA, Asia and Australia.  Morgan McKinley is a preferred supplier to many of the major employers in its specialist sectors and thousands of smaller local firms.

Morgan McKinley APAC provides specialist recruitment services across the APAC region, including Australia, Mainland China, Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore, working with clients and candidates to deliver local knowledge as well as global reach.

Morgan McKinley won Banking and Financial Services Company of the Year at the Recruitment International Hong Kong awards 2014. In addition,  Morgan McKinley won the award for Best Recruitment Consultancy in Asia Pacific for In-house Training and was also highly commended for having the Best Marketing Campaign in Asia Pacific at the Global Recruiter APAC awards 2014. 

  • Oct 30, 2014
  • Japan
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