Monday, November 06, 2006

how to find a job in China's financial sector

I got an email from one of my readers. He(or She) asked me to advise the job hunting in China's financial market. I am trying my best to answer it here. Hope it will help that reader, as well as many others. But what I would like to say that it is more important for me to tell more details which sector in the financial field you guys want to work in.

- the job market, number of job opportunities available

The job market is pretty good this year. Many of banking getting listed are recruiting more people, especially from overseas. one example is ICBC is recruiting now, even including fresh graduates, which is not that usual. Securities firms and insurers are also have a good time, too.

- the skills generally required (language, technical, quantitative)

Languages are basically English and Mandarin. You must have some finance degree or better some working experiences from overseas, which will help a lot.

- Credentials, education (masters, CFA, MBA, the school name)
All of them will help, but depending on what types of firms you want to join. MBA will be the best to join the investment banks and consulting firms, while others will help you with other financial companies or industrial companies which need financial person.

- what is the usual career path (starting positions, promotions, exit opportunities, the easiness of transitions into other industry)

Starting positions is depending how many experience you have. It is hard to tell in general. But I believe in a new sector, it will be easier to get promoted. As I know many investment bankers are pretty young, beyong their 40s.

- the pay scale (compared with other industries, benefits, tax)

Paid normall better than others, if not the best. Commercial banks paid pretty good among all types of careers before, and now investment bankers and consultant are catching up. But commercial banks usually have off-the-record income, such as house compensation, while the others may not have that.

- What are some of the bigger industries within Finance and what are the developing ones (Asset management, risk management, consulting, Investment Banking, Hedge funds, private equity, etc) ?

Bigger industries are commercial banks and brokerages. Hedge funds and private equities are growing, but still small. Fund managerment companies is also big, while expats could easily find a lot of sino-foreign joint ventures. Consulting, to tell the truth, is not as popular as before. Risk management is a pretty new area, but I believe it will develop quickly.

- Which cities are good for this industry (Shanghai, hongkong, guangzhou)?

hoho, this also depends on various sector, but to tell the truth, Guangzhou is not comparative with SH and HK. Hong Kong is still the international financial center, which is more efficient and regulated. Good place for investment bankers, at least based there to enjoy the low tax benefit. SH is better for sino-foreign joint venture career development, such as funds and importing/exporting related. BJ is a place for financial experts working closely with policies, such as commercial banks, investment banks, and even brokerages. Private equity and venture capital are usually based in BJ too. Also, SZ is also a good place for small and medium size companies, the city also has a lot of loca private equities and hedge funds.

All in all, it depends on various choices, and my understanding is just for reference. just meeting a banking expert last week, and he told me attitude is more important than others for financial professionals overseas to work in China. And that's true.

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