Positive momentum spell opportunities in accounting, finance, banking and IT

10 April 2012

2012 Salary Guides Reveal Salary Projections and Positions in Demand

Hong Kong, 11 April, 2012: The newly released 2012 Salary Guides for Asia from specialist recruitment firm, Robert Half show that jobs in accounting, finance, banking and information technology (IT) are expected to dominate the Hong Kong employment market in 2012.

With Hong Kong’s economy showing signs of positive momentum and business confidence fueled by China’s robust economic growth, the Robert Half Banking & Financial Services Salary Guide 2012 and the Robert Half Finance & Accounting Salary Guide 2012 forecast an increase in both hiring actitivy and average salaries in Hong Kong across all sectors. Within the financial services sector, there are pockets of increased recruitment activity, particularly in private banking, hedge fund, asset management, insurance and retail banking. At the same time, demand for finance and accounting talent within the consumer goods industry is expected to remain strong.

Risk and control positions within financial services, as well as accounting positions within the commercial sector are projected to see the largest increase in base compensation among all fields covered in the salary guides.

Pallavi Anand, Director, Robert Half Hong Kong, said: “2012 is shaping up to be a very promising and interesting year for the Hong Kong economy as we enter the second quarter of 2012.  The evolving resolution of the sovereign debt crisis in Europe, economic recovery in the US, robust growth in  Mainland China, ongoing infrastructure projects and low interest rates will provide support for continued economic growth in Hong Kong.”

Banking and Financial Services
According to the latest Robert Half survey findings released as part of the 2012 Robert Half Banking & Financial Services Salary Guide, a net 69% of senior financial services leaders within the banking and financial services sector plan to increase the number of permanent accounting and finance staff and more than half (55%) plan to increase salary levels in 2012.

In addition, 63% of senior financial services leaders indicated they are looking to increase bonus levels. Of those planning to increase bonus levels, the average increase is expected to be 5.3% in Hong Kong.

The Banking & Financial Services Salary Guide also reports that risk and compliance professionals are highly sought-after. The stringent local and international regulatory requirements have put candidates with strong regulatory, compliance, risk and anti-money laundering backgrounds in high demand. Employers are often willing to go the extra mile to attract and retain these professionals and as such, average salaries for compliance and risk professionals are expected to rise 20% over 2011 levels.

Another area within the financial services sector that is particularly buoyant is the demand for technology staff. Chief Technology Officers (CTOs) and Chief Information Officers (CIOs) surveyed in Hong Kong are expected to be active in their hiring plans with a net 28% of them indicating that they plan to increase their permanent IT headcount. The main reasons cited for increasing technology staff are to facilitate business growth and expansion, and to implement IT systems upgrades.

Commerce and Industry / Commercial
Within the Commercial sector in Hong Kong, a net 20% of the Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) and Finance Directors (FDs) surveyed indicated that they are planning to increase the number of permanent accounting and finance staff in 2012, according to the 2012 Robert Half Finance & Accounting Salary Guide.

Additionally, 47% of the CFOs and FDs are planning to increase salary levels in 2012. 23% of the CFOs and FDs also expect to increase bonus payments in 2012, and the average increase is expected to be 5.7% among those who are expecting bonuses to rise.

The Finance & Accounting Salary Guide further reports that the demand for finance and accounting talent within the consumer goods industry remains strong, particularly for retail and luxury companies that continue to pursue expansion into China. Moreover, the current and forthcoming infrastructure projects in Hong Kong of various scales are expected to create more employment opportunities for finance and accounting professionals.

Most Promising Jobs in 2012
The following are 10 promising jobs in Hong Kong based on the Robert Half 2012 Salary Guides
1. Controllers1  (HK$ 567,000 to HK$1,050,000)

2. Internal Auditors1&2 (Banking and Financial Services: HK$300,000 to HK$1,300,000 / Commercial: HK$226,800 to HK$1,575,000)

3. Anti-Money Laundering (AML) / Compliance Officers(HK$300,000 to HK$1,500,000 )

4. Credit Risk Specialists2 (HK$300,000 to $1,300,000 )

5. Fund Administrators2 (HK$216,000 to HK$900,000 )

6. Client Servicing Specialists2 (HK$300,000 to HK$1,150,000 )

7. IT Architects2 (HK$720,000 to HK$1,620,000)

8. Developers2 (Lead Software Developer: HK$600,000 to HK$1,200,000)

9. IT Auditors2 (HK$480,000 and HK$1,020,000)

10. IT Risk & Compliance Professionals2 (HK$400,000 to HK$1,200,000)

Ms. Anand added, “We are observing  some positive employment indicators coming out of Hong Kong about the months ahead, as demonstrated by the projected salary increases in 2012 Salary Guides. In fact, we are seeing an uptick in client demand for both permanent and contract finance and accounting staff. Now, more than ever, it is critical for employers to look at offering a competitive remuneration package to their top talent in order to ensure that their business has access to the talent it needs to keep the business moving forward.”

1Finance & Accounting Salary Guide
2 Banking & Financial Services Salary Guide

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