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In tough times, switch or expand hunt for a job

Published on Thursday, 19 Jul 2012
Louisa Yeung

I hold an MSc in financial engineering (quantitative finance), from City University [of Hong Kong], as well a bachelor's in accounting, with around six years' commercial banking experience from a top-tier emerging-market bank. I switched from accounting to quantitative finance as I have a passion for risk and portfolio management, and investment research. To boost my job chances, I enrolled in some of the industry's most respected and rigorous professional qualifications. But the job market is tough, more so for non-locals without language skills. Are there chances for graduates like me in this environment, where most jobs require both Cantonese and Putonghua? Edi

You have excellent training and experience across the banking sector and the difficulty you have in securing a job in the FI sector in Hong Kong is due to the fluctuating condition of the global market, which has resulted in restricted hiring activity.

You can consider changing the focus of your job search to the consulting area, for example the consulting practice within a Big 4 or international project- or risk-management consultancy firm. These firms also place less emphasis on language skills because they offer services to clients across the region.

I understand you might not have all the relevant experience consultancy practices require. As such, producing an effective résumé will give you a better chance of gaining the attention of a potential employer. You need to demonstrate your specialist experience in those relevant areas, as well as your strong desire to get started in a consultancy career.

Alternatively, you can consider moving straight into a project- or risk-management position focusing on emerging markets in a country like Singapore. This means giving up your desire to secure a role in Hong Kong. After building-up experience, you can look at coming back.

Louisa Yeung is managing director of Michael Page International in Hong Kong & Southern China. She leads multiple specialist recruitment teams in finance, HR, property and construction, and executive search

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