Sector offers solid job opportunities
As one of Hong Kong's most important business sectors, the banking industry continuously evolves and develops, creating new career opportunities for those already within the industry and for individuals who would like to become bankers.
"Hong Kong's banking sector is one of our pillar industries and remains a strong attraction for jobseekers," says Carrie Leung, chief executive officer at the Hong Kong Institute of Bankers (HKIB).
Leung adds that in addition to the more traditional banking roles, there has been a widening of career opportunities for those without financial qualifications and experience. In particular, as retail banks utilise e-platforms and smartphone technology, opportunities are opening up for IT professionals.
"The use of IT in banking is growing at a rapid pace and I would say this is an area where we are going to see an even bigger demand for IT and e-platform communication specialists," she says.
Other areas where Leung sees growing demand for talent include risk and compliance operations and renminbi banking activities.
Leung says that as the HKIB celebrates its 50th anniversary and continues its role as the "cradle for Hong Kong bankers", a key aim is to continue providing more viable pathways for non-banking individuals to join the industry.
She says a good example is the HKIB Accredited Banking Practitioner (ABP) programme that allows people with no banking background to advance their careers in the sector. The programme is designed to introduce new participants to the nuts and bolts of banking, including an overview of the industry, products and risks.
"The ABP is a good entry point and can usually be completed in about six months," Leung says, adding that the ABP also provides a stepping stone to a full suite of HKIB programmes. "We always aim to keep our programmes current, relevant and in line with the needs of Hong Kong's banking industry."
For instance, the HKIB has introduced two streams to its postgraduate diploma in wealth management: business strategy in private wealth management, and global portfolio and client relationship management. The qualification streams were requested by the industry and are designed to both strengthen the core competencies of those taking the diploma and boost the talent pipeline for the wealth management sector.
Currently, the HKIB provides four categories of qualification to members with different academic backgrounds and career paths in financial services. Qualifications and designations cover the developmental needs of practitioners at different levels - from junior to senior - as well as in different business units.
Leung says those who join the Hong Kong banking industry benefit from several advantages. "As a major Asian financial centre and bridge between mainland China and the international banking industry, Hong Kong continues to grow as a strategic financial hub," she says.
She adds that Hong Kong's robust legal and financial systems, which have a worldwide reputation for having strong regulatory frameworks, are also highly respected by the international banking and finance community. Against this backdrop, Leung says those entering the profession have a responsibility to uphold the highest standards of integrity and professionalism.